GPs just as confused as public about Covid vaccine rollout: NZ Medical Association council chair

General practitioners are just as confused as the public about the Covid vaccine rollout, with many still waiting to know what their role will be, a NZ Medical Association council chair has said.

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Dr Vanessa Weenink says many GPs are still waiting to hear what their role will be in the vaccine rollout. Source: Breakfast

That’s despite successful vaccine rollouts overseas having GPs at the centre of them, Dr Vanessa Weenink, the chair at the GP Council at the New Zealand Medical Association, told Breakfast.

Weenink’s comments come after confirmation that one million doses of the Pfizer jab would arrive in New Zealand in July, much to the relief of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Further Government announcements would be made on the general public rollout next week.

“Patients are definitely finding this very confusing and patients across the country are having to have these conversations repeatedly,” Weenink said.

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“Most of us are saying you’ll get it when you’ll get it.

“It’s been confusing for us as well as the public.”

Weenink predicted that the general public vaccine rollout would be confusing should it go ahead next month.

“I think it’s going to be a very challenging time, it’s very confusing,” she said.

“If it’s done in a nice sequenced way then it can feel like everything is very orderly but it’s going to be quite challenging to do that in a sequenced way across the country all at once.

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“I think once the general public rollout starts to happen we’ll need to have many more places doing it, we’ll need to have pop-up centres and mass vaccination events and more GPs will be able to be involved.”

Weenink said “many GPs haven’t heard what their place is in” the rollout despite overseas examples showing the importance of their involvement.

“Overseas when GPs have been involved, that’s when it’s been really successful, in the UK for example, about 90 per cent of their vaccines have been delivered through GP practices,” she said.

“In Israel it has been delivered through their health networks which are basically essentially primary care networks.”

The district health boards should probably take responsibility for the clumsy rollout, Weenink said.

“They’re the ones who have been given the responsibility, they’ve also been limited how they do that by the Ministry of Health.”