25 May, 2021
At the current rate of COVID-19 vaccination, it will be the end of 2022 before 85 per cent of adult Australians are vaccinated. That's simply not good enough. Communication about the vaccination has been messy and uninspiring, and the process has been disorganised—and that is the opinion of experts and general practitioners.
In Warringah, I conducted a survey of medical practices to see what their experience of the rollout has been. Seventy per cent said the number of doses allocated to them does not meet their patient demand. When vaccine deliveries are delayed or cancelled, 70 per cent of respondents said they were given less than 24-hours notice. One-third said they were receiving a high number of cancellations, and 80 per cent of patients were concerned about severe side effects. Ninety-four per cent said becoming a vaccine provider had come at a financial cost to their practice with increased staffing costs, purchases of new fridges and infrastructure. These GPs have given the government and this process four out of 10.
Doctors have numerous suggestions for the government on how the rollout can be improved: by increasing the number of vaccines available, guaranteeing reliable supply, setting up mass vaccination hubs and improving communication to the public. I thank the GPs of Warringah for taking part in this survey, and I urge the government to listen to them.