The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) says general practices participating in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout are gearing up to receive their first patients as the program ramps up.
The Government announced on Sunday that more than 4,500 general practices would participate in Phase 1b of the rollout, with more than 1000 commencing from the week of 22 March 2021. The program will rapidly scale up and roll out to more practices over the following four weeks.
Practices have received onboarding packs from the Government with detailed guidance on the vaccination program so they can prepare to administer vaccines.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price said general practices were gearing up for the job ahead.
“This is a welcome step forward. GPs and practices participating in the rollout have been keenly waiting for information and guidance so we can make all the necessary preparations to receive our first patients for the new vaccines.
“General practices right across the country are gearing up. We have a big job ahead of us, and we need to get it right.
“GPs and practice managers will be thinking about how they’re going to tackle this task, how will they get set up, how will they go about contacting patients to let them know they can get their vaccine.”
The RACGP President reassured patients thinking about getting their own vaccine.
“It’s important to remember we are still in the early phases of the rollout – this is a careful and methodical process, with the most vulnerable patients first up to receive the vaccine.
“However, we know patients who aren’t in those groups are wondering about what will happen when their time comes.
“Many patients naturally want to get the vaccine from their usual GP, it makes sense, and we encourage this where possible. However, it may not always be possible, as not all practices will be participating.
“I encourage patients who have questions or concerns to call their GP, we are here to help. And please be understanding and remember that there is high demand for the vaccine.”
Patients will be able to check their vaccine eligibility and their closest participating general practice in the Government’s Vaccine Eligibility Checker after 15 March, online here: https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/
Dr Price reiterated that general practices provided 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.
“I have every confidence in Australia’s GPs at this crucial moment in history. We are ready, we are gearing up, and we will be doing everything in our power to deliver a safe and fast rollout for our patients.”