LETTERS: Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, COVID vax is rollin’
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
With widespread flooding across much of eastern Australia, rural doctors are assuring their communities that the COVID vaccine is continuing to roll out across the country.
Government is distributing both the Pfizer vaccine via hubs, and the AstraZenica vaccine via GP clinics, GP Respiratory Clinics and Aboriginal Community Controlled Clinics, just as fast as it is arriving into Australia.
While there are a lot of people eligible for phase 1a and 1b of the vaccine rollout, the amount of vaccine being delivered remains limited.
With Sunday's TGA approval of the locally produced AstraZenica vaccine, supply will certainly continue to increase over the coming weeks and months.
We are very encouraged that the Department of Health is ensuring that the vaccines are being made available in many rural areas at the same time as it is in metropolitan areas, and that vulnerable rural patients are not being sidelined by larger centres.
We anticipate that current flooding may impact on both the distribution of the vaccine, as well as people's ability to access the GP clinics and hubs that have already received it in some areas, but as soon as it is safe to do so the rollout will continue as planned.
In a country like ours, droughts and flooding rains are just something we need to accept can, and will impact on plans, and this of course disproportionately affects those of us in the bush. However any issues should subside along with the flood waters.
Eligibility for phase 1a and 1b is limited, and your eligibility can be checked by visiting https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility.
The eligibility tool will take you through to an interactive map of clinics who will be administering the vaccine.
Not all clinics have been selected to provide the vaccine at this stage and the map is not yet complete, with about 4600 clinics to come online as the rollout progresses over the next four weeks.
If you are unsure of what local availability you will have, please ring your local rural GP clinic for advice.
We thank Prime Minster Scott Morrison and Minister for Health Greg Hunt for their time on Friday at a GP Peak Roundtable attended by RDAA, and for ensuring that all the key GP organisations are being kept fully informed about vaccine developments quickly and accurately.
Dr John Hall,
President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).
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