GP’s takedown of vax rollout: ‘Macca's could do better’
Queensland GPs fear patients will lose faith and abandon COVID-19 jabs after repeated issues with supply.
Some doctors have been forced to beg and borrow supplies from nearby hospitals and work on holidays, with no extra pay, to avoid cancelling appointments and keep up confidence in the community.
"McDonald's could do a better job of this rollout," frontline doctor and General Practice Gold Coast chair Kat McLean told The Sunday Mail.
"We have no certainty of supply. Vaccines are not being delivered when 1000 people are booked in for their vaccine. How do we do this?"
Deliveries not turning up is happening throughout the state said Dr Bruce Willett, the Queensland chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, who runs a clinic in the Moreton area.
"I've had no shows of deliveries. There is no trust in supply," he said.
Queensland yesterday recorded three cases of COVID-19, including one which was locally acquired. The new case is a close contact associated with the Brisbane northside cluster but authorities are not worried because he had spent his infectious period in quarantine.
It comes as Queensland received 25,000 Pfizer vaccines on Thursday, after officials said the state had just three days' worth of supply left.
Dr McLean, from Haan Health medical centre and respiratory clinic at Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast said doctors were jumping through hoops to beat the chaos as communities rely on their local GPs.
"We are concerned that the lack of organisation and uncertainty of supply will damage the community's confidence in the vaccine process," she said.
Dr McLean said that already short supplies for the phase 1b patients, which includes the high-risk elderly, are being used on frontline workers who have missed out on the 1a Pfizer vaccine.
And as the Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young announced on Friday that those who live with frontline health workers will join the 1b rollout, fears grow there will be more pressure on the community GPs who are already grasping for supplies.
"Our weekly supply did not turn up on Monday so we had to get proactive so as not to let down the patients," Dr McLean said.
"We borrowed 1000 doses from the Gold Coast University Hospital. And we are now left with uncertainty about the next delivery."
While larger clinics are being allocated 1000 doses a week, smaller GP surgeries are receiving as few as 50 doses.
"GPs are not making any money through the vaccination program but they are dedicated to their patients and the burden of the chaos has been thrown onto them," Dr McLean said.
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said the 25,000 Pfizer doses would last for the next fortnight.
"Remembering that we've done over 21,123 vaccinations in the last week and we've got now 25,000 Pfizer … for the next fortnight," she said.
"I suspect most of that Pfizer will be used for second vaccinations because everyone who has already received their first vaccination will need this second dose."
Ms D'Ath said there wasn't a backlog of health workers who needed the jab, saying Queensland was on track.
"We have practically completed the 1a group, that will always continue to be added to so we'll never completely finish as new hotel quarantine workers come on," she said.
"But we have had practical completion."
More than 88,000 people have been vaccinated in Queensland so far.
Ms D'Ath said on average, there wasn't more than two weeks of stock on hand.
She said if the government was to fast-track vaccinating all health workers, the supply would run out within days.
Dr Willett said this week he has had 10 times more patients wanting shots than the number of vials in his fridge.
"Supply is a constant cause of problems. Our weekly doses are literally gone within two hours on vaccine clinic day," he said.
The doctor has 20,000 patients and gets 100 doses each week.
"The policy of giving large quantities of vaccines to the respiratory clinics does not make sense," Dr Willett said.
"During this 1b rollout to high-risk patients the recommendation has been that patients are vaccinated in their own general practice by a team that knows them.
"It would make more sense to distribute more vaccines to these practices."
Meanwhile most of the COVID-19 patients who were being treated at the Princess Alexandra Hospital have been moved out of the facility.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said officials were still trying to work out how both a doctor and nurse at the hospital contracted the virus.
"We're not putting any more COVID cases into the PA at the moment, just until we try and work out how this has occurred because the first patient that led to transmission and the second patient that led to transmission were both being managed in the same room," she said.
"We think there could be a problem with that particular room or the environment around that room."
Originally published as GP's takedown of vax rollout: 'Macca's could do better'