General practice passes COVID vaccine milestone

Matt Woodley

9/08/2021 5:03:05 PM

More than seven million COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered by GPs across Australia over the past four months.

Empty vials of AstraZeneca.
Primary care has administered more than half of all the COVID vaccinations in Australia to date.

The 7,220,049 total vaccine doses given by primary care represents 53% of the overall 13,636,580 collated by the most recent Federal Government statistics, despite ongoing supply issues hampering the capacity of many of the 5150 practices currently participating in the rollout.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price said the milestone demonstrates the extraordinary efficiency of general practice, even under difficult circumstances.
‘This is a great achievement, and it reflects the role of general practice in the vaccine rollout,’ she said.
‘General practice is the backbone of the rollout, and it makes sense. As we’ve said all along, there are GPs living and working in communities right across our country, from big cities to regional, remote, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
‘We know most patients want to get their COVID-19 jab from their usual GP, like they do for their routine immunisations.’
Dr Price said general practice ‘provides a safe environment’ for vaccination and continuity of care for patients, as GPs can draw on a patient history and have the necessary training and facilities to manage rare adverse reactions.
‘GPs are helping patients understand the benefits of vaccination, as well as rare side effects to watch out for,’ she said.
‘I’m very proud that general practice has stepped up to meet challenges throughout this rollout. We’ve seen increased administration of doses in hotspot areas, and steady increases across Australia. We are getting more jabs into arms faster as supply increases, which has always been the hurdle.’
The RACGP President thanked GPs, nurses, receptionists, and ‘everyone in the practice team’ who she said have ‘gone the extra mile’ to protect their community from COVID-19 and urged eligible unvaccinated people to see their GP.
‘The longer you wait, the more at risk you are of contracting COVID-19. We’ve seen how quickly the Delta strain spreads, the symptoms are more severe and it’s affecting younger people and children too,’ she said.
‘There’s no sense in risking contracting this virus – it can be deadly, and we are seeing many patients suffer the effects of long COVID even after they have recovered from the virus. This can include symptoms such as serious neurological, cardiac and psychiatric issues for weeks and months after the initial illness. It is not worth waiting.
‘Get vaccinated as soon as you can, and do your bit to protect yourself, your loved ones and community.’
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