General Practitioners around the country are calling for calm after they were inundated with requests for vaccine appointments.
The federal government launched their online booking system for coronavirus vaccines yesterday, which lists over 1,000 clinics around the country where phase 1B participants could get the jab.
The second phase of the nation’s rollout will technically start on Monday, but officials were clear on the fact that each GP would have different start dates.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners says that over the last 12 hours, clinics have been flooded with calls from people impatient to book their vaccine appointment.
Some people even behaved in ‘disrespectful and aggressive’ manners to those answering the phones.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price is calling for calm, with many clinics yet to even receive their doses for the jabs.
“I understand that patients are eager to receive their vaccination and that is positive news; however, I plead with all people to please be respectful when speaking to receptionists and administrative staff managing this huge volume of calls about vaccines on top of their day-to-day presentations,” she said.
“They are doing their best in very challenging circumstances. It may be a frustrating experience, but if you are kept on hold for an extended period or told that a booking can’t be made yet due to uncertainty about when vaccine supplies will be delivered, my message is simple – please be patient.
“Yesterday was a very difficult day for many GPs, nurses, receptionists and administrative staff in clinics across the country. I want them to know that the RACGP is fighting for them and not to be discouraged because you are performing a vital job.
“I am immensely proud of all the GP clinics participating in this pivotal phase of the vaccine roll-out, which is protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
“For time being I advise patients to hold off contacting GP clinics until general practice can achieve greater certainty on how many AstraZeneca vaccines will be delivered and when. Many practices will already be going through their patient records to identify who is eligible and will reach out to their usual patients to organise an appointment.
“We must be patient because we know that in the initial weeks of phase 1b, there will be a limited amount of vaccine stock available. Local manufacturer, CSL, have said that they will be able to ramp up to produce one million doses a week very soon, which would enable the vaccine to be rolled out to more practices and more patients.
“So, let’s keep calm and stay the course. Everyone in phase 1b will be vaccinated in coming weeks, you will not miss out.”
Despite the federal government launching an online booking system yesterday, GPs say those calling are confused by it and don’t understand.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price says the federal government needs to do more to smooth out the booking process.
“Issues concerning the online booking system must be resolved as quickly as possible. The RACGP is keenly aware of concerns regarding the integration of software systems and how this is affecting the ability of people to book their vaccine appointment online.
“It is vital that the Government resolves this issue promptly to make the booking process straightforward for patients and the RACGP looks forward to assisting in any way.