AMA supports early vaccine rollout and increased screening of international arrivals

14 Jan 2021

AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid has praised the recent decision of National Cabinet to accelerate the rollout of the initial Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that will help protect those most at risk of infection until a population-wide vaccine is available.  

The appearance of the new UK strain of COVID-19 in Queensland seems to be a greater risk of breaking out of hotel quarantine, and then spreading quickly to outrun and overwhelm our last lines of defence - physical distancing and testing and tracing. 

“It must be stopped before it enters the community, and we commend the Queensland Government for taking strong, fast action, and National Cabinet for backing those actions,” Dr Khorshid said.  

The AMA welcomes the accelerated timeframe for the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the assurances that normal approval processes are being carried out. 

“The Therapeutic Goods Administration is yet to sign off on final approval for the Pfizer vaccine, and this process cannot be rushed,” Dr Khorshid said. 

Dr Khorshid highlighted that while the initial rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the highest priority groups must be delivered through hospitals only, given the storage and supply constraints, that the AMA will continue to work with the Australian Government on the next, much more extensive phase of vaccination of the wider population. 

“It is not a particular vaccine that will save us, but the safe and effective vaccination of the whole community that will protect us all,” Dr Khorshid said. 

“The second phase, whichever vaccine is decided upon, must harness the long-recognised expertise of GPs in delivering safe vaccinations in a medically-appropriate environment, not shopping centres or discount outlets. 

“GPs have a proven record in delivering vaccinations safely and effectively to their patients. This includes care in following pre- and post-vaccination processes, such as the high standards in recording of vaccinations. 

“This will be critical because several COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be used and all those currently in development will require multiple doses, which will require careful recording on the Australian Immunisation Register.” 

Read the full media release here.  

In the current absence of vaccine, GPs are reminded to test, or refer patients for COVID-19 testing if patients present with even the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms.