This past month has seen a significant recalibration of the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout, presenting opportunities and challenges for our COVID-19 team and those on the front line.
As at 7 June, more than 2.84 million vaccines have been delivered in primary care settings, and more than 272,000 by general practices in WA.
Additionally, more than 30,000 vaccine doses have been provided to aged care residents in WA, with over 80 per cent of residents having received dose one and two.
However, vaccine hesitancy remains a significant challenge, with the current Melbourne outbreak a timely reminder for everyone who can be vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.
General Manager, Primary Care Innovation and Development Bernadette Kenny said the biggest change by far was to bring forward access to the AstraZeneca vaccine for Australians aged 50 years and older in participating general practices to 17 May.
“Behind the scenes, our team have worked tirelessly to manage requests from practices keen to start early.
“In addition, we coordinated a second expression of interest to administer AstraZeneca to vulnerable populations with limited access to the vaccine. As a result, more than 20 additional practices in WA will be onboarded in June.”
This is week 12 of the general practice rollout and people will now begin to receive their second doses of AstraZeneca.
The Pfizer vaccine is now also being delivered to eligible people aged under 50 in selected GP Respiratory Clinics/Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics.
Ms Kenny confirmed that through all aspects of the vaccine rollout, partnerships have been vital to enhancing outcomes.
“I was delighted our team was praised by WA Department of Health and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners WA for communicating to GPs the booking methods, times and locations of State-run Pfizer and AstraZeneca clinics. These updates allowed GPs to receive their AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccinations (depending on age) in a timely and efficient manner.”
Friends and family members of Kalgoorlie-Boulder health and emergency services workers were able to receive their first dose vaccination, thanks to our work with WA Country Health Service and the Royal Flying Doctor Service to connect Aspen Medical with the community and use spare doses, which might otherwise have been disposed of.
“My final thought on the partnerships theme is a fantastic yarning session over some delicious kangaroo stew we organised with Nidjalla Waangan Mia, a general practice participating in our Comprehensive Primary Care Program.
“This brought together Aboriginal community members from Kwinana and Peel and provided reassuring information about COVID-19 vaccines, blood clots and other areas of concern.”
Several of the group immediately booked in to have their vaccine, and a follow up session for Elders is being organised.