Government set to issue call for pharmacists to express interest in COVID vax program participation
The Federal government is seeking pharmacists and GPs to express interest in participation in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, due to start in Mid-February.
And Health Minister Greg Hunt says the expression of interest requests are planned to be issued as early as next week.
In a statement released on Thursday 21 January, Mr Hunt said “the Australian Government is securing an additional vaccine workforce and working to deliver essential training to everyone who will administer the vaccinations”.
The vaccine roll out will take place through hospitals, General practices, state and Commonwealth vaccination clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and Pharmacies, he said.
“Our next stage is to issue expressions of interest requests for General Practices and Pharmacists, with that expected to be issued this week as foreshadowed,” he said.
Mr Hunt said the government was preparing “the necessary and compulsory training which will be required for each and every healthcare professional administering COVID-19 vaccines”.
“The nature of the COVID-19 vaccines requires immunisers receive information on a range of issues, such as the use of multi-use vials and handling practices for the Pfizer vaccine which requires very low temperatures for storage,” he said.
“Healthcare professionals and the vaccine workforce will not be able to administer any COVID-19 vaccines without having first completed the training modules”.
The Minister said they were working to ensure there was a suitable workforce “to administer the vaccines in an efficient manner, particularly to our priority groups including residential aged care, residential disability, and carers.
This vaccine workforce will support the jurisdictions for their part in the vaccine rollout. We anticipate they will also partner with peak organisations and other providers to assist in administering the vaccine for harder-to-reach populations, such as remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” he said.
“This additional vaccination workforce will help support and supplement these existing services and assist in outreach in areas such as aged care and remote and indigenous communities working with existing providers”.
Meanwhile, Dr Chris Moy, SA branch president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) discussed some of the vaccine logistical issues in a radio interview.
“So there is a lot going on, not only with the initial stages, which are probably going to be with this Pfizer vaccine which has a lot of logistical problems because it has to be stored in and transported at minus 70. But also, the probable wider rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be a massive undertaking”.
“This is an undertaking on the level of Dunkirk, really, trying to get so many vaccines out, two shots for the majority of the population in as fast as possible time over the first three-quarters of this year probably.