AMA calls for clarity on COVID-19 vaccine rollout process

18 Mar 2021

In a joint statement, the AMA and the RACGP have called on Government to clarify the process for booking COVID-19 vaccinations for patients, after an influx of calls to general practices by patients seeking to make bookings for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

General practices have been inundated with calls and online booking ahead of the beginning of the Phase 1b rollout of vaccines through GPs. 

“Based on the volume of calls GPs have already received today, it’s good to see that the community is confident and wants to access a COVID-19 vaccination,” AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid, said. 

“However, it’s clear the Government needs to make it easy for patients and General Practices alike to manage bookings for COVID-19 vaccinations and be clear about how long patients may have to wait before they can get an appointment.” 

Dr Khorshid highlighted that the rollout of the vaccine is a huge logistical challenge that is constrained by the available supply of vaccines. This means the rollout of the vaccine in general practice will start slowly and then build over time. 

“GPs will be following strict priority criteria to ensure that vaccines are prioritised towards those who need it most,” Dr Khorshid said. 

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) President, Dr Karen Price, said that general practice is the backbone of vaccination arrangements in Australia, but not enough had been done by the Government to communicate with patients about the rollout process. 

“GPs have responded in large numbers to the Government’s call to help vaccinate the community, with around 4600 general practices to be progressively incorporated into the vaccine rollout over the next four weeks,” Dr Price said 

“However, it’s clear from the calls many general practices have received this morning that the Government needs to better communicate with the community on the vaccine rollout process, and not build unrealistic expectations, particularly at this early stage.” 

Read the full media release here.  

Members are also reminded that if you are part of the vaccine roll out and have any problems, the key point of contact in the Commonwealth to raise these is the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) that can be contacted on:  

Phone: 1800 318 308 

Email: COVID19VaccineOperationsCentre@health.gov.au  

Note: The VOC hours of operation are between 7am to 10pm (AEST)