Key points for GPs and COVID vaccine EOIs

30 Jan 2021


Patient receiving vaccine

 

Expressions of interest (EOI) for General Practices (GPs) who wish to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out close 11.59pm AWST Wednesday 3 February 2021 (1.59am AEST Thursday 4 February).

We’ve compiled key points that you need to consider before completing the application.

Who can apply?

  • Accredited GPs.
  • One application per site
    • You can set up an alternative site from your existing practice but there is no funding available to support this.

Why is there an EOI?

  • The purpose of the EOI is to manage the limited supply of initial vaccines and balance adequate public access. It’s unlikely that GPs would not be accepted into the roll-out.

EOI Timeframes

  • There are 30 questions and you have to complete it in one session, there’s no save and resume.
  • Clock is ticking as applications close 11.59pm Wednesday 3 February 2021 (1.59am AEST Thursday 4 February).

Can I apply for the next phase?

  • There is a little ambiguity here. It appears that all GPs interested in administering COVID vaccines are encouraged to apply now even if they want to participate in Phase 2.
  • It seems that GPs already registered for the vaccine will potentially receive more doses and vaccines as they are available.

Who gets the vaccine?

  • The vaccine is free for all Australians, permanent residents and most visa-holders.
  • Patients not eligible for Medicare can attend a Commonwealth-funded clinic to receive the vaccine.
  • If accepted GPs will need to administer to people eligible in the Phase 1b cohort and they don’t need to be an existing patient.
  • You have to state it clearly in the EOI if you only want to administer the vaccine to your own patients but it’s likely that practices who don’t have this stipulation will be prioritised.
  • More information on tests for patient eligibility are still to come especially for those with chronic conditions. There are plans for an eligibility checker for patients and GPs.
  • Accurate records in the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) need to be kept so it’s clear who has received the vaccine.

Who can give the vaccine?

  • Authorised health professionals who have also completed COVID-19 specific training.

How many vaccines do I have to give?

  • There are inherent efficiencies that you will need to meet as the vaccine is provided in multi-does vials. Practices with higher throughputs will be on boarded more quickly for the roll-out.
  • The time needed to provide the patient with a good explanation of the vaccine, record keeping and observation of at least 15 minutes has to be factored in.
    • N.B. the observation time might change as per Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) advice. Some of our members have reported that they believe the observation time may be increased to 30 minutes.

What are timeframe for second dose?

  • Pfizer is 21 days between doses.
  • AstraZeneca timeframes are still to come pending TGA advice.
  • Patients don’t have to return to the same clinic for the second dose.

Can vaccine be given during home visits?

  • Unlikely given the multi-dose vials but there may be some instances that will need this approach but it will need careful planning.

What are the logistics to receive the vaccine and order consumables and PPE?

  • Again it’s ambiguous and appears that further information will be outlined with those practices who are on boarded. But it’s not clear and may be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • There appears to be an agreement in place for Australian supply of needles, syringes and sharps containers.

Money

  • The vaccine is free for all Australians, permanent residents and most visa-holders.
  • There are 18 new MBS items being introduced.
  • There are different items for urban versus non-metropolitan areas and business hours versus after-hours services.
  • The first dose includes a double payment of the bulk billing incentive to account for the extra time needed. 
  • You cannot privately bill patients for the COVID vaccines.

Next steps

We are receiving a number of issues and concerns from our members. We’ll continue to collaborate with our network of AMAs to work with the state and federal governments to achieve the best outcomes for the community and our profession.

Our advice is to register your EOI this weekend and ensure you are part of the COVID vaccine roll-out and help our community in what is the biggest public health initiative in history.

Register for the EOI now.


Published: 30 Jan 2021