Can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine from my GP?
To pave the way forward in healthcare advancements to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, the COVID-19 vaccine program is set to rollout across all States and Territories over five phases starting February 2021.
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have provided provisional approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia for people aged 16 years and older. The TGA is currently reviewing the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
Why are there five phases of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout?
For effective management of the virus, it is important to prioritise vaccinating workers with the highest risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. Following the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), the national COVID-19 Vaccine Program will rollout in phases of priority groups, with the first recipients (phase 1a) of the Pfizer vaccine to include Quarantine and border workers, frontline health care workers and aged care and disability care staff and residents (Morrison 2021).
The next phase (1b) will include the rollout of vaccines to vulnerable groups, including adults aged 70 and over, other health care workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over age 55, young adults with a medical condition, and clinical and high-risk workers. The rest of the population will be focused on in phases 2a, 2b and 3.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory?
The COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary. All recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, at least two weeks apart. With the provisional approval by the TGA of the COVID-19 vaccine, Australians can be assured of the safety, quality, and effectiveness of the vaccine. The rigorous TGA approval process can be viewed here.
In there anything else patients should be aware of at this time?
Our Medical Home has always been at the forefront of providing vaccinations for all, annually providing access to a free seasonal flu vaccine. We believe GPs are key to a successful and safe rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The free flu vaccine will be available at all of Our Medical Home medical centres from March 2021.
Australian Government Department of Health 2021, TGA provisionally approves Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia, viewed 28 January 2021, <https://www.health.gov.au/news/tga-provisionally-approves-pfizerbiontech-covid-19-vaccine-for-use-in-australia>
Morrison, S (Prime Minister of Australia) 2021, Pfizer vaccine approved, media release, 25 January, Parliament House, Canberra, viewed 28 January 2021, <https://www.pm.gov.au/media/pfizer-vaccine-approved>
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