North Coast

North Coast general practices invited to take lead role in COVID-19 vaccine rollout

The Australian Government is inviting all accredited general practices to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to participate in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Healthy North Coast, which delivers the Government’s Primary Health Network program, is helping to coordinate the vaccine’s delivery locally. Under the National Rollout Strategy, COVID-19 vaccination will commence in mid to late February 2021. It will be staged, with frontline health care workers and older people living in residential aged care facilities the first to receive the vaccine. Healthy North Coast CEO, Julie Sturgess, said general practices selected to participate in the Phase 1b of the rollout, scheduled to begin in March, will have a critical role to play in vaccinating North Coast residents from the COVID-19 virus. As the staged roll out progresses, more and more accredited general practices will be invited to provide the vaccine. They will receive vaccine-specific training, access to a national booking system, and funding for each vaccination delivered via bulk-billed Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) items. Each general practice will have responsibility for operations on its premises, including: • On-site storage • Delivery of the vaccine • Ensuring it has an adequately skilled workforce and • Compliance with minimum operational requirements. “We’re looking forward to helping provide communities from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads with access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines,” Ms Sturgess said. “General practices are a critical partner in achieving this goal and in providing comprehensive primary health care. There are 144 accredited general practices located on the North Coast.” COVID-19 vaccines will be made available for free to everyone living in Australia, including all Australian citizens, permanent residents, and most visa-holders, including those not Medicare eligible. General practices will not be permitted to charge co-payments. The Department of Health will determine locations for the Phase 1b rollout. It will do so in consultation with states and territories, with assistance from Primary Health Networks. Healthy North Coast will continue to provide updates about the COVID-19 vaccination program at as information becomes available.