Most GP clinics ready for vaccinating

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
The vast majority of southern general practice clinics are now ready to dispense Covid-19 vaccinations, despite widespread dissatisfaction at being forced to use the Ministry of Health’s booking system.

Many clinics, with their own well-established and efficient booking systems, have complained about having to use a ministry system that one GP, speaking anonymously, called clunky and frustrating.

Despite those concerns, 85% of Otago and Southland’s general practices have now signed up to take part in the step-up of the vaccine roll-out.

Practices in Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago, Waitaki, and other rural areas have been giving vaccinations for some months, but most practices in urban centres were now also trained and prepared to deliver the vaccine, WellSouth chief executive Andrew Swanson-Dobbs said.

"Sixty-eight of 80 general practices in Otago and Southland are either delivering or prepared to deliver the vaccine.

"WellSouth Covid-19 immunisation co-ordinators have been busy working to ‘on-board’ practices and helping to guide them through trial clinics to deliver the vaccine to their own eligible patients and others.

"General practices, community pharmacies, and the community clinics established by the Southern District Health Board, and Maori and Pacific providers working together have been able to make this roll-out accessible and equitable in this region," Mr Swanson-Dobbs said.

Several months ago, urban GP clinics expressed frustration that they had not been involved in vaccination from the beginning of planning for the vaccination programme.

The Otago Daily Times understands most are now pleased to be involved, although one GP said they were doing so purely for the convenience of their patients and were trying to stay positive about the vaccination programme.

SDHB vaccine roll-out incident controller Hamish Brown praised the work of primary health workers so far.

"In the Southern region, we acknowledge the vital role of general practices and pharmacies in delivering the vaccines in our widespread district.

"These are the people who know their communities and are trusted local healthcare providers."

Last week, for the first time, the SDHB fell behind its ministry of health set target for vaccinations, being 3% behind schedule as of last Sunday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received her second jab yesterday to mark the start of the roll-out to those in Group 4.

One case of Covid-19 was reported in managed isolation yesterday.

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