The Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network has reported that over 90 per cent of general practices across the region have submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
“This overwhelming response to participate in the rollout is a testament to the ongoing commitment that our local GPs have demonstrated over the past year to keep their patients and local communities safe and well during the pandemic,” said Network CEO, Richard Nankervis.
“One of the most pleasing aspects of this great response is that despite the large geographical footprint of our region, from the Hawkesbury River to the Queensland border, everyone living in our region will have the opportunity to access their COVID-19 vaccination through a general practice.
“General practices will be the key player in administering the second and subsequent phases of the rollout.
“The first phase of the program is for those most at risk, such as frontline healthcare workers, residential aged care, and disability care residents.
“It is important to stress that the prioritisation of groups has been determined using public health, medical and epidemiological evidence on who would be most affected if they contracted COVID-19, and those most likely to be exposed.
“More details on which specific groups are covered during which phase is outlined on the Department of Health’s website.
“In our region we expect that first phase will include over 180,000 people over the age of 70 years and more than 12,000 Aboriginal people over the age of 55.
“The coming weeks will be an extremely busy time for GPs as they prepare for the second and subsequent phases of the rollout which is expected to start in early March following a rigorous assessment of the Astra Zeneca vaccine by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
“The PHN is urging everyone in the community who is eligible for a vaccination to participate in the rollout.
Immunisation is a safe and effective and helps protect others, especially those who may not be able to be immunised themselves.
“When you get immunised, you protect yourself as well as helping to protect the whole community.
“Our hope is that if enough people in the community get immunised, the infection will no longer spread from person to person.
“This would mean outbreaks are much less likely, and the need for preventative measures, like travel restrictions, would decrease,” Nankervis said.
Press release, Feb 5
Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network