More than 10m jabs given in general practice

Paul Hayes

2/09/2021 3:00:11 PM

With Australia’s two largest cities resigned to vaccinating their way out of lockdown, GPs have underlined their importance to the rollout.

A tray of injections.
General practice has delivered more than half of the COVID vaccinations administered across Australia.

The days of locked down Australians waking up and obsessively checking the daily COVID case numbers in the hope they were trending towards zero have seemingly come to an end.
The premiers of New South Wales and Victoria have conceded that the more infectious Delta variant has changed the situation and COVID-zero is no longer a realistic goal.
‘We will not see these case numbers go down,’ Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said as the state recorded 120 new COVID cases on Wednesday. ‘They are going to go up. The question is, by how many and how fast.’
Vaccines administered are the new numbers of choice.
‘It is now the advice of the experts that [getting back to zero] is not possible,’ Premier Andrews said.
‘So now we have to contain the growth of cases and the speed at which they increase and hopefully keep the number of people who are vaccinated ticking over faster than the number of cases.’
This means the majority of Victoria’s current lockdown restrictions will remain in place until at least 70% of the state’s adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been promoting a similar plan, and recently vowed to greatly reduce restrictions once 70% of the state’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated.
‘Whether it is attending a public event or having a drink, if you are fully vaccinated and the state has hit its 70% double dose target, please expect to do all of those things we have been missing for too long,’ she told Sunrise.
This evolution in strategy coincides with general practice having surpassed a significant vaccine milestone, with more than 10 million doses having been delivered in primary care – more than half of the national total.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price said GPs, nurses, receptionists, and administrative workers should hold their heads high.
‘This is an incredible achievement,’ she said. ‘GPs are not known for drawing attention to themselves; we go about our jobs without much fanfare.
‘Because of this, I believe practices have not received enough recognition for delivering so many vaccines amidst a troubled vaccine rollout.
‘In time, I hope that GPs receive the plaudits they deserve because the scale of the task is enormous.’
Dr Price believes GPs’ often-longstanding relationships with their patients make them ideal vaccinators for people all over the country.
‘Patients know and trust their GP and it is only natural that they want to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at their local practice,’ she said. ‘We are adept at addressing patient concerns, answering questions and talking through why getting vaccinated is so important.
‘GPs are also valuable in engaging communities, particularly those of us who work with culturally and linguistically diverse patients and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
‘Because we are located in almost every community, general practice is a ready-made mass vaccination service.’
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