TWENTY-TWO Gippsland general practices will start administering the COVID-19 vaccine from Monday, March 22, 2021.

It is an eagerly awaited event, making the first expansion of the vaccination program into the general community, albeit for people over 70, those with underlying health conditions and emergency services personnel.

In addition to the general practices, vaccines will be administered by the Gippsland Respiratory Clinics and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, two of the respiratory clinics being located in Wonthaggi and Foster.

All Australians will have access to the vaccine however initially, doses are limited so priority groups will be among the first to receive the vaccine.

Gippsland Primary Health Network Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said GP clinics approved by the Australian Department of Health to participate in Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout, would receive supply of vaccines progressively over the coming weeks, starting on Friday, March 19.

“It is important for all of us, as a community, to understand that this is a considered, phased approach, in response to the supply and availability of the vaccine which will become more and more accessible as the vaccine is produced in Australia,” Ms Proposch said.

“In Phase 1b, eligible people include anyone over 70 years old, healthcare workers, younger adults with an underlying condition and high-risk workers like emergency services personnel and meat processing workers.

“It also includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are over 55.”

People can use the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker to find out when they can expect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and if they are eligible for Phase 1b, how to then find the location of the nearest vaccination clinic and how to book.

The list of clinics is for the first week, with additional clinics to be added as they join the rollout.

Ultimately pharmacies and other vaccination centres will join the rollout program as more of the vaccine becomes available in Australia.

The following local GPs are included in the first general rollout although some are experiencing high volumes of inquiry and initially low supplies of the vaccine so applicants are urged to exercise patience.

* Lang Lang Community Family Medicine 88404205

* Drouin: Bank Place Medical Centre 56253000

* Warragul: Gladstone Street Medical Clinic 56220444

* Warragul: Victoria Street Medical Clinic 56231100

* Leongatha: Long Street Family Medicine 88404205

* Leongatha Healthcare Service 56622201

* San Remo Medical Clinic 88404205

* Cowes: Grandview Medical Centre Cowes 88404205

* Korumburra Medical Centre 56551355

* Wonthaggi: South Gippsland Family Medicine 88404205