Approval of AstraZeneca vaccine welcomed by RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the recent provisional approval of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

“[The] announcement is a welcome milestone in the vaccine roll-out, and protection of our community,” says RACGP President Dr Karen Price.

“Most Australians will get the AstraZeneca vaccine, and many will naturally want to be vaccinated by their usual GP.

“GPs across the country overwhelmingly want to vaccinate their patients. There was a huge response to the Department of Health’s expression of interest with over 5000 practices applying to be a vaccination clinic.

“Initially, not all practices will be able to be involved in the vaccination program, but eventually the expectation is that it will be rolled out more widely, and more practices will become involved as supply increases.

“For now, while we are in Phase 1, it’s critical that we can vaccinate as many of the highly vulnerable people as efficiently as possible. The logistics of later phases will be addressed as the roll-out progresses.”

Dr Price says that while the demand for the vaccine is expected “to be high”, people need to “be patient and understanding” as the roll-out of the vaccine gets underway.

“We ultimately would like to see every practice that wants to provide these vaccinations to be able to do so,” she says.

“We need to get to the stage where Covid-19 vaccinations are part of usual patient care as soon as possible – especially if we want to finish this job by October, as the Government has said they want to.”

Dr Price explains that the RACGP are continuing to work closely with the Government on the vaccine roll-out, adding that “this is an enormous task and it’s critical to get it right”.

“We need high immunisation rates to protect Australians from the Covid-19 virus,” she says.

“General practices provide a safe environment for vaccination – GPs can draw on a patient history and are equipped with the necessary medical training and facilities to manage any rare adverse reactions.

“GPs can answer their patient’s questions and concerns – we are perfectly placed to increase vaccine confidence and uptake.

“This is especially true for GPs who engage with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

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