Local GPs are expected to receive their supplies of AstraZeneca vaccine later this week.

By Michael Giles

ELIGIBLE Bass Coast and South Gippsland residents are supposed to be able to get the COVID-19 jab from Monday next week.

But local GPs have revealed today that they simply don’t know when they will get their first supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine which is the variety to be available locally.

Clinics at Leongatha, Korumburra, Wonthaggi, Cowes, San Remo, Lang Lang and Drouin will be among more than 1000 general practices to join the COVID-19 vaccination program from next week.

These GP locations are expected to start progressively coming online from Monday, March 22 but it is not known exactly when the local GPs will get their supplies of the vaccine.

Nonetheless they are still taking bookings, mostly by phone, in a move that has already caused call-gridlock at a number of the medical centres, so be patient.

According to an announcement by the Health Minister Greg Hunt today, this staged scale up will align with the supply of the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine, and as more vaccine becomes available more services will come online.

“This rollout for Phase 1B complements the significant vaccination program underway to protect our most vulnerable citizens in Phase 1A, with approximately 200,000 vaccinated by the end of Tuesday,” Mr Hunt said.

Anyone over 70 years of age, or with an underlying health condition is eligible. Emergency services workers and CFA volunteers, together with health workers and others eligible under 1a, are also eligible See eligibility checker link below.

“Australians eligible for Phase 1B will be able to find a vaccination provider through the new national vaccination information and location service, at the Department of Health website.”

This will enable people to locate their nearest general practice providing General Practice Respiratory Clinic vaccinations and link through to their online booking system or phone number to make the appointment.

General practices will play a major role in ensuring all Australians who seek to be vaccinated have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

Who is eligible?

“Phase 1B includes vulnerable groups, such as older people and people with certain underlying medical conditions. No-one is better placed to support these people than our general practices.

“Appointments on the service finder will increase as general practices establish their systems and vaccine supply. More appointments will become available as more clinics come on-board.

“People will still be able to book their vaccine appointments directly at a participating general practice – as they do now, for instance, to get a seasonal flu vaccine.

“We are committed to making sure that every Australian that wants a vaccine will be able to be vaccinated.”

As the rollout moves into Phase two, additional general practices and selected community pharmacists will also participate in the program. No-one will miss out, whether they live in a city or country town or a very remote area.

“Vaccines are the game changer in our fight against the COVID-19 virus and I urge everyone in Australia to come forward and get vaccinated when they are able to. It will protect themselves, their family, and their community.

“There will be six million Australians in Phase 1B, and not all will be able to be vaccinated immediately. We recognise that every Australian will have the opportunity to be vaccinated over the coming months and we thank you for your patience.”

Where do I go and how do I book in?

Go to Department of Health website. Using the Eligibility Checker, you can find out which phase of the rollout you are in. If you are eligible, you will be able to view vaccination clinics and book an appointment online or via phone. If you are not yet eligible, you will be able to register your interest so that you can be notified when you are able to book.

If you prefer not to use the online option, you can call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080.

Which local GPs are included?

The following local GPs are included in the first general rollout although some are experiencing high volumes of inquiry and have yet to be told when they will get vaccine supplies.

  • 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

After 21,464 tests results received on Wednesday, March 17, there were no new cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, extending the no-case period to 19 days. There are only two active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, both of them returned travellers in quarantine.

Go to the government’s Vaccine Eligibility Checker for details on who is eligible under stage 1b: https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility