‘Not enough doses’: Vaccine rollout will fall behind
GP clinics with tens of thousands of patients will receive only enough AstraZeneca to administer vaccines for as little as 30 minutes a week, leaving patients hanging on a long waiting list for the life saving jab.
"There simply won't be enough doses and I ask that patients manage their expectations. We have 20,000 patients and will get only 100 doses each week. In our plan that's no more than half an hour of vaccinations. We will have to carefully select those patients who are most at risk," Dr Bruce Willett, Queensland chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, has warned.
Smaller clinics will be given 50 doses a week for the Phase 1B rollout.
"There are doctors who are fed up with the slow run out but I prefer to go with the glass half full focus and trust that supply will pick up after the initial few weeks. Some GPs have the attitude that it would have been better to stockpile supplies and wait to dispatch them but we are going with the government's plan and I urge Queenslanders to make sure they get the vaccine and not be put off by any delays," Dr Willett said.
Dr John Hall President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, who runs 50 GP clinics nationally with many in Queensland, said supply is obviously a problem and GPs feel let down that they have created vaccination space in their clinics and organised extra staff for a very limited number of vaccines.
"There are GPs in Queensland who are thinking of pulling out of the vaccine clinics as it has become just too difficult and looking like it's financially unviable," Dr Hall said.
GPs will receive $31 for the first AstraZeneca shot and a further $24 for the second.
"Patients, particularly in more isolated regional and rural areas, rely on GPs. We will be keeping a close eye and making sure the government does not drop the ball with commitment to these people," Dr Hall said.
The RDAA president said he was also disappointed that many frontline workers had not yet had their Pfizer vaccine while politicians were lining up for theirs.
"There are health workers still collecting swabs and putting themselves at risk. Let's get them vaccinated," he said.
Originally published as 'Not enough doses': Vaccine rollout will fall behind