CEO Primary Matters – 27 January 2021

Happy New Year

Welcome back to the first editions of Westvic News and Primary Matters for 2021. I hope you all had a restful break and enjoyed quality time with family and friends over the festive season.  

We continue our work in supporting both state and territory COVID 19 response including testing and distribution of PPE. This year, we are pleased to be working with the federal and state governments and public health units with the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out program in our region.

Our Role in the COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-out 

The federal government recently announced a rollout program for COVID-19 vaccinations across Australia. Australians are expected to receive the Pfizer and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines from mid to late February. 

This timeline will depend on a number of factors including final approval from the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA), and delivery of the vaccine from the supplier. The TGA has recently granted provisional approval to Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd for its COVID-19 vaccine, COMIRNATY, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in Australia. 

Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) seeks to ensure clinicians, and people in western Victoria, have timely and accurate information on the vaccination rollout program within our region. WVPHN is fully guided by the federal government in how and when vaccines will be available.  

It is anticipated that the initial phase will start with about 80,000 vaccinations a week. High-priority groups, including healthcare and quarantine workers among others, would receive the treatment first. 

The Australian Government is seeking expressions of interest from accredited general practices to take part in Phase 1b of the Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Roll. Visit WVPHN’s new COVID-19 Vaccinations webpage for documentation and instructions.

GP practices should consider their ability to contribute to this program of work recognising that influenza vaccination and general GP work will need to continue to be provided. 

While WVPHN does not have a lead role in the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine during Phase 1a of the roll-out, we will still closely liaise with relevant health services in our region to ensure appropriate information is made available to GPs and other health providers. GPs have an important role in ensuring their patients and communities have access to relevant, accurate and up-to-date information on the vaccines and the roll-out program.

A Public Health Unit Update and Primary Care Consultation

To update GPs on the latest advice and planning from government and health services, WVPHN will be holding an online information update ‘town hall’ on the vaccine rollout tomorrow (Thursday 28th January) commencing at 7.30pm.

All GPs across the region would have received an invitation last week to register for this event. If you have not registered yet, please do so via the WVPHN website.

We are delighted to have a number of important speakers presenting on the night including Dr Lucas DeToca, Acting First Assistant Secretary of the COVID-19 Primary Care Response who will provide advice on the federal governments planning, and local GP Dr Bernard Shiu who will speak on the RACGP modelling.  We will also have a presenter from Barwon Health and our session facilitator will be local GP Dr Bianca Forrester.

This vaccine rollout update will be an important session that you should not miss.

Part of the session will be a discussion forum and we invite GPs to put forward a question they may wish to ask before the session on Thursday.  Simply follow this link and enter your question and details.  Due to time limits we can’t guarantee that all questions will answered on the night but questions submitted and responses will be collated into a Frequently Asked Questions flyer and will be uploaded onto our website.

 

Rowena Clift 

Chief Executive Officer