By Juliano Oliveira
The next stage of the COVID-19 vaccination program, known as Phase 1B, is set to begin on 22 March. Over 70-year-old patients, health workers, and Indigenous Australians above 55 will receive their first jabs.
General practitioners will act in the frontline of the immunisation strategy. More than 1,000 GP’s have been incorporated into a booking system through which users will be able to view and select clinic locations based on their postcode. The number of professionals is expected to progressively increase to more than 4,000 by the end of April.
Australians eligible for Phase 1B will find a vaccination provider on the Department of Health website.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said there would be six million Australians in Phase 1B, and not all will be vaccinated immediately.
“So this is six million Australians, and obviously not all of those will be vaccinated in the first week. So this is patience over the coming month, as we do with the flu season,” Mr Hunt said.
“But we are managing in terms of the doses in and therefore the availability. In addition, there will be over 100 Commonwealth vaccination clinics that will be made available.”
Approximately 200,000 doses will be made available to general practices next week. Mr Hunt detailed that 150,000 will be directed to first and second doses on Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
“And then the Commonwealth GP vaccination clinics, which currently do the testing we’ll have 50,000 available with 100,000 reserved for frontline emergency service, Defence workers and aged care, first and second doses,” Mr Hunt said.
“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.”
The Federal Government announced that approximately 200,000 patients would be vaccinated by the end of Tuesday as part of Phase 1A.