Frontline health workers in line for boosters

The AMA says arrangements must be in place to get the booster into aged care homes, alongside other priority groups.

The AMA continues calls for the COVID-19 booster roll-out to be properly funded with AMA President Omar Khorshid saying a new funding model for GPs is needed.

The Australian Government has announced the start of the booster roll-out.   

ATAGI said while the booster program will be targeted to priority groups, including frontline healthcare workers, it will also include those who “completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine course more than six months ago”.

Speaking to SBS World News on Wednesday evening, Dr Khorshid said the AMA welcomed the news of the rollout.

“It's particularly good news for those frontline healthcare workers, particularly those in Victoria and NSW who are feeling exposed at the moment, having been vaccinated quite some time ago and potentially facing reducing immunity, but still being potentially exposed to Covid in the workplace,” Dr Khorshid said.

Dr Khorshid said there were lessons to be learned from the first part of the rollout but said it was unlikely supply would be an issue this time.

“What might make it a little bit more complicated is we might be vaccinating children as well, and if it overlaps, supply may be a little tight again.”

Dr Khorshid said it was really important to make sure the arrangements were in place to get the booster vaccines into aged care and that the Government needs to make very clear what arrangements they are going to have to make sure patients can continue to access vaccines through their usual general practitioner who are at the core of the rollout so far.

The President was also quoted in The Canberra Times, and many regional newspaper digital platforms saying it would be important GPs are properly funded to administer booster vaccines.

“The current funding model is not fit for purpose, having been designed to support the administration of two primary doses – not a booster program.

“We need to see a proactive approach to the roll-out and this means the Government will need to ensure general practice is properly funded to reach out to patients using recall systems, assess patients as well as administer booster shots,” he said.

Two weeks on since it was launched, the media continued to publish stories based on the AMA report Public hospitals: Cycle of Crisis. This week the Hobart Mercury continued the story saying Tasmanian hospital staff have spoken of the “exhausting” nature of their work and quoting the AMA saying urgent reforms to funding arrangements are needed to fix a steady and sustained decline of hospital performance.  Read the AMA’s media release here.

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