The latest shake-up of Australia’s vaccine rollout has been revealed after an emergency National Cabinet meeting on Monday 28 June, with a no-fault indemnity scheme for GPs among the key announcements.
The move effectively means any Australians under the age of 60 who want AstraZeneca can discuss it with their GP, who can then administer the vaccine to willing patients.
‘This relates to encouraging Australians to go and chat to their GP about their vaccination, and to have their vaccination administered,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said following the National Cabinet meeting.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recently recommended AstraZeneca be limited to people over the age of 60 due to concerns over patients developing thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). That move followed an earlier recommendation that it be limited to people over 50.
‘The ATAGI advice talks about a preference for AstraZeneca to be available and made available to those as preferred for those over 60, but the advice does not preclude persons under 60 from getting the AstraZeneca vaccine,’ Prime Minister Morrison said.
The announcement of the no-fault indemnity scheme is designed to mitigate GPs’ risk regarding legal liabilities in the face of an adverse reaction.
‘If [under-60s] wish to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, then we would encourage you to go and have that discussion with your GP,’ Prime Minister Morrison said.
‘We’ve already made announcements to support those additional consultations with the GPs so you can have that conversation.
‘And, secondly, we are also providing the indemnity scheme for those general practitioners, so they can actively engage with you, and you can make the best decision for your health.’
The announcement comes as Australia faces the possibility of a potential national COVID outbreak.
At the time of publication (10.15 am 29 June), the current New South Wales cluster has grown to at least 130 cases, and cases have trickled into the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, sparking lockdowns, social restrictions and mask-wearing mandates across the country.
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