By Georgia Parsonson
The Queensland branch of The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has encouraged Queensland residents to visit their local general practitioner for a COVID-19 vaccination. As GP’s are most familiar with their patient’s medical history, they are best situated to deal with any potential side effects of the vaccines.
AMA Queensland’s President, Professor Chris Perry, has stated that when delivering the COVID-19 vaccinations, the patient’s safety must take priority over logistical convenience.
“The State Government has announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be available in pharmacies in parts of rural and regional Queensland in the coming weeks,” he said.
“We want everyone immunised, but it’s a poor reflection on the Queensland health system that patients in these regional areas do not have access to a GP.”
The limitations regarding medical services in regional Australia is not a recent issue, but more must be done to address them. However, the distance and the limited amount of medical personnel in regional Queensland (and Australia, more broadly) complicate matters.
“We need state and federal collaboration to ensure we support GPs to be able to practice in all regions and care for Queenslanders.”
The Chair of AMA Queensland’s Council of General Practice, Dr Maria Boulton, observed that the pandemic has shown the nation just how vital it is for Australians to have a GP that individuals and families may depend upon.
“We want everyone to have the safest access to the vaccine,” she said.
“Ideally, that means patients can receive the vaccine from a GP who is experienced, trained and skilled in not just giving the vaccine but can also deal with any possible side effects.
“Your GP will make sure you have the best individual advice for your specific health needs and risk profile.”
According to Dr Boulton, doctors follow the most recent advice provided by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). These organisations closely and constantly monitor the national and international data regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
Professor Perry says that eligible Queensland residents should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
“I want to emphasise, the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for people over 50, with the benefits vastly outweighing any risks,” he explained.
“Blood clot risks remain very rare but talk with your GP about your individual health needs if you have concerns.
“COVID is coming to when our borders open. It’s just a matter of when and the only way to protect yourself and your family is to be vaccinated.”
To give better access to vaccinations to residents under 50, AMA Queensland would also prefer if GP’s could administer the Pfizer vaccine.