Two in ICU as COVID-19 shots start at GPs

 

About 250 Queensland general practice clinics will start administering COVID-19 shots from today as supply problems continue to plague Australia's vaccination efforts.

The start of Australia's Phase 1B rollout of the vaccine comes as two of Queensland's 54 active cases of COVID-19 are being cared for in intensive care.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said that across Australia, about 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be distributed to general practices this week as part of the Phase 1B rollout.

 

 

About six million Australians are eligible for vaccination under Phase 1B, including those aged 70 and older, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 55 and above, adults with a serious underlying medical condition or disability, health workers, meat processors, defence force personnel, paramedics, fire and emergency service workers and police officers.

That includes more than a million Queenslanders, among them Redland couple Janette Buddee and Paul Barnes.

Janette Buddee and Paul Barnes are keen to get their Covid-19 vaccinations under the Phase 1B rollout. Photo Steve Pohlner
Janette Buddee and Paul Barnes are keen to get their Covid-19 vaccinations under the Phase 1B rollout. Photo Steve Pohlner

Professor Kidd admitted that some GP clinics would only receive 50 doses of the vaccine a week "over the coming few weeks", blaming the limited availability of COVID shots on delays in shipments from overseas.

But he said the Federal Government expected to ramp up its vaccine distribution for general practice to 400,000 jabs a week "over the coming months".

State and territory vaccine hubs will also administer vaccinations under Phase 1B.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration last night approved the manufacture of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia, allowing CSL to start making the shots locally.

"We are expecting CSL to very quickly ramp up to one million doses a week, and to have that released and pushed out," Prof Kidd said.

 

 

Two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are required 12 weeks apart.

The Phase 1B rollout will begin today as those in the priority Phase 1A group, including frontline health workers, hotel quarantine staff and residents and workers in aged care and disability accommodation, continue to be vaccinated.

Professor Kidd said he expected the Federal Government to complete its Phase 1A rollout of two vaccine doses to those living and working in aged care and disability accommodation, within six to eight weeks.

Two new cases of the COVID-19 virus were recorded in Queensland yesterday, taking the state's total number of confirmed infections during the pandemic to 1417.

The latest figures show Queensland Health has administered 37,002 doses of the vaccine since the state's rollout began on February 22.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Chris Perry said the best way to make a vaccination appointment was to use the online eligibility checker at health.gov.au or phone 1800 020 080.

"We want everyone vaccinated but it will be a gradual build-up, as more doses are supplied," he said.

Originally published as Two in ICU as COVID-19 shots start at GPs


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