The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) welcomes the government advice that over 4600 general practices have been approved to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out from phase 1b.
At a doorstop at Parliament House yesterday, the Minister for Health Greg Hunt thanked GPs for “stepping up to the plate in numbers greater than we had ever hoped”. The government’s initial target was for 1000 practice to join the program.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price welcomed the news as a positive step.
“The strong response from GPs across the nation is welcome – it shows GPs overwhelmingly want to be able to vaccinate their patients.
“We want to see every practice that wants to provide these vaccinations to be able to do so. We need to get to the point where COVID-19 vaccinations are part of usual patient care as soon as we can.
“However, we appreciate that not all practices can be involved in the first stages of the rollout as supply of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine will be limited. The 4600 practices approved to participate in the rollout will come on in phases.”
The RACGP President said general practice was ready and willing to participate in the rollout.
“With the right support, general practice can deliver a fast and safe rollout.
“General practices provide a safe environment for vaccination – this is what GPs do. GPs can draw on patient history, we have the medical training and facilities required, and we can talk to patients who have questions or concerns.
“GPs will be valuable to engage communities, particularly those of us who work with culturally and linguistically diverse patients, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“General practice also has the numbers required for this massive effort – there are practices right across Australia, in cities, rural towns and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
Dr Price said many patients would naturally want to get the vaccine from their usual GP.
“We encourage this where possible, but it may not always be possible.
“There is high demand for the vaccine, and we need to get it out quickly. I implore patients to please be patient and understanding – and if you do have questions or concerns, call your GP.”
“I want to reassure GPs that practices participating in the rollout will be receiving information and guidance to support them in delivering the vaccine and the logistics that will entail.
“I know practices will be gearing up and making all the necessary preparations to help in this mammoth effort, including completing the mandatory training modules.
“I have great confidence that our GPs are up to this task, and I want to thank them for their efforts because I know many are going above and beyond to make this happen for their patients.”