No empty spaces at GP vaccination hubs

15 Sep 2021

People waiting after being vaccinated


Transcript: AMA Queensland Council of General Practice Chair, Dr Maria Boulton, ABC Radio Brisbane Breakfast with Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan, Wednesday 15 September 2021

Subject: Vaccination rollout in Queensland

CRAIG ZONCA:     GPs are experiencing an extraordinary level of demand for COVID vaccinations. Dr Maria Boulton knows about it all too well as a GP herself and chair of the Australian Medical Association Queensland Council of GPs. Maria, hello to you.

MARIA BOULTON:  Hi, good morning, and we’re just doing a COVID vaccine clinic as I speak.

CRAIG ZONCA:     Yeah, I was just going to ask. I know that usually it’s seven o’clock you start that pretty much every day at the moment, isn’t it?

MARIA BOULTON:  Yes, it’s two days a week plus the Sunday, we do three hours on the Sunday.

CRAIG ZONCA:     When you hear that vaccine appointments are going begging at Queensland Health, what goes through your mind?

MARIA BOULTON:  Oh, that’s such a shame. I think people are still wondering whether there’s enough supply, and the thing is we’ve had more Pfizer come in to the state, so I would just encourage people to go and have another look and see whether they can get an appointment and take advantage of this window of opportunity that we have to get vaccinated.

LORETTA RYAN:     Yeah, I mean, to think that vaccines are being wasted is something terrible, and then we hear people saying the over-60s can’t take the Pfizer, they’re not allowed to have the Pfizer, they have to have the AstraZeneca. But would you think that we just should be able to get to a stage where people can just walk up and say I want a vaccination, can I have whatever is going?

MARIA BOULTON:  Ideally, once we get the supplies that would be the ideal, and in general practice we still have a huge demand, and there’s still some GP clinics that haven’t received their Pfizer stock yet. So I guess our experience is a bit different to the hubs at the moment, in that we still have patients and we still have a wait list that we’re trying to get through.

LORETTA RYAN:     Yes, so at your GP clinic there’s no wastage?

MARIA BOULTON:  No, no, and if we have a couple of doses left at the end of the day because people have not turned up, or any other reason, we ring our wait list and we get people in. And people are always happy to come in.

CRAIG ZONCA:     So you’re saying if two people haven’t turned up, you’re hitting the phone Maria? You’re like, oh yeah, I’ve still got one or two vaccines, you better come in this morning, effectively?

MARIA BOULTON:  Oh, absolutely, absolutely. And people do come in. They’ll say, oh look, I’m in the middle of the shops but I’ll come in. And I’m going, great, see you in 15 minutes.

LORETTA RYAN:     Yep, so good. And what about teenagers? Are you getting more of them now?

MARIA BOULTON:  Yes, definitely. So we’ve done a whole bunch today, lots of different school uniforms this morning coming in with their parents and we’ve got a few more booked on Sunday as well.

LORETTA RYAN:     Now, are you giving them stickers? We didn’t get a sticker when we got our vaccinations.

MARIA BOULTON:  I wish! I wish I had some stickers. I think my husband asked for a lollipop.

LORETTA RYAN:     Didn’t get one, hey?

MARIA BOULTON:  No, he didn’t [laughing].

CRAIG ZONCA:     They’d run out of lollipops when I got my first one, Maria.

[All laughing]

CRAIG ZONCA:     I’m hoping there’s one left on Sunday when I get my second shot. So, advice to people if they haven’t had one yet, or they’ve gone to Queensland Health, they’ve registered, but they haven’t had that email back to book an appointment – what would you suggest people do, Maria?

MARIA BOULTON:  I would suggest they contact Queensland Health again, but also remember that there’s a different other pathway where you can book vaccines which is through the GP clinic. So there’s two ways of booking vaccines, and try both as to where you can get in quicker. But certainly, if you’ve received an appointment or if you haven’t heard back from Queensland Health, just contact them again.

CRAIG ZONCA:     Okay. Thanks so much for joining us this morning, Maria Boulton. Always appreciate the advice.

15 September 2021


Published: 15 Sep 2021