Doctors keen to reduce vaccine hesitancy

Greg Hunt says the government has a better line of sight on vaccine supplies.
Greg Hunt says the government has a better line of sight on vaccine supplies.

Doctors have raised concerns extending the coronavirus vaccine rollout to pharmacists may not allay pockets of jab hesitancy in Australia.

The pharmacy network and a further 800 GPs will be given the Moderna vaccine for delivery in the final quarter of the year.

Australian Medical Association vice president Chris Moy said hesitancy had been a significant issue after extremely rare blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca jab.

"Patients really have needed that guiding hand of the general practitioner to be able to talk them through this that I'm not sure pharmacists do," he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

Dr Moy said general practices had delivered 3.2 million of the more than 5.8 million doses administered across the country.

"General practice so far has actually been doing the heavy lifting on the vaccine rollout."

He said there were about 4600 practices that could be called on to join the rollout and further boost the pace of jabs.

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Monday announced an agreement that will see GPs receive a fee for delivering jabs to the frail, elderly or immobile in their own home.

The program will help complete the first phase of the vaccination program, reaching people who could not get to a GP surgery or state clinic or initially declined to get a shot.

Dr Moy said the move would allow doctors to "pinch hit" in filling in gaps across older and disabled people.

The amount of vaccine available and the number of places to get a jab are set to ramp up considerably in the coming months.

But in the short term, the federal government is working with Victoria, which in some areas has had to pause bookings and walk-in appointments due to heavy public demand.

Dr Moy said the situation showed it couldn't be a free for all with a balance needed between opening to more age groups and protecting second-dose supply.

Mr Hunt said the government now had a "clear line of sight" in terms of AstraZeneca dose supplies, while Pfizer had indicated supplies would grow over the next two months.

"It's good but we want it to be better," Mr Hunt said.

Victoria recorded no new local cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, paving the way for restrictions to be eased as planned later this week.

Australian Associated Press