Leading WA’s COVID-19 primary care response

WA Primary Health Alliance is a key contributor to the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout, leading the primary health care response in WA.

Following a direction from the Australian Government, WA Primary Health Alliance has onboarded 583, or 79 per cent of WA general practices, to take part in the rollout, with many now providing both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to people across the state.

This includes 14 Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics (also known as GP Respiratory Clinics) which are delivering COVID-19 vaccines and crucial services in the assessment and testing of COVID-19 in the community.

General Manager Primary Care Innovation and Development, Bernadette Kenny, said considering the evolving COVID-19 outbreaks in other states, these Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics and general practices play an increasingly critical role in keeping our communities safe.

“We have taken a leadership role in the vaccine rollout, and our COVID-19 vaccination team is working in a highly agile and flexible way to meet tight deadlines and constraints, as advice and updates are provided by the Australian Government.’

WA Primary Health Alliance is also assisting with the coordination, planning and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to residents and staff of residential aged care facilities.

“Vaccination of residential aged care staff is time critical given the Australian Government’s mandate for this workforce to have a first vaccine by 17 September 2021,” Ms Kenny said.

“I am really proud of what our team has achieved so far under sometimes difficult circumstances, and of our ability to step up and support general practices, residential aged care providers, and, ultimately, ensure the WA community can be protected.

“WA Primary Health Alliance also has a key role in integrating the Australian and State Governments’ COVID-19 vaccination efforts, something which would have been difficult to achieve were it not for our combined representation of the state’s three Primary Heath Networks.”

On top of logistics and communications support, the COVID-19 team provides regular updates, education opportunities, business support, and other resources to general practices, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics and residential aged care facility providers taking part in the rollout.

Since WA Primary Health Alliance sent the initial expression of interest to general practices in February, the COVID-19 team has responded to thousands of requests and queries from general practices and other vaccination providers.

By August, nearly 14,000 (or 81 per cent) of residential aged care facility residents had received at least one dose of a vaccine. The focus of the rollout has now expanded to include the vaccination of all aged care staff to meet the September deadline.

Case study

Administering COVID-19 vaccines to residential aged care staff requires a whole of team effort

Following a National Cabinet meeting on 28 June, it was announced that all residential aged care staff would be mandated to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 17 September 2021.

WA Primary Health Alliance was asked to:

  • Identify general practices, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services interested in administering vaccines to residential aged care facility staff via bespoke clinics;
  • Provide these practices with a dedicated supply of Pfizer vaccine for use during these clinics;
  • Coordinate interested vaccination providers and residential aged care facilities to enable the vaccination of aged care facility staff; and
  • Report to the Australian Government on the use of Pfizer stocks and the number of staff receiving vaccines.

A survey was sent to general practice vaccination providers to gather data from interested providers.

As a result, more than 30 general practices are now offering vaccinations to residential aged care staff across the Perth metropolitan area and regional WA.