More than five million Australians have received the Covid-19 vaccine as the federal government announced GPs will be able to administer doses for people with disabilities and the elderly at their homes.
Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt said 5.9 million people had received their first vaccine dose and more than 5.8 million of them had been administered their second dose.
“During the course of the last week, we’ve also seen a record day and record weekday figures,” he told reporters on Monday.
Hunt also revealed an “important next step” in reaching older Australians and those with disabilities.
“We’ve now reached 100 per cent of aged care facilities around Australia for first doses and 94 per cent of facilities have had second doses, with the remaining numbers over the coming days and weeks as they reach the three-week mark from their previous dose,” he said.
“As part of that, one of the things we’re doing is enlisting Australia’s GPs to be able to visit people at home or in a disability or in a residential aged care facility.”
Under the home visitation payment program, GPs will be paid $56.75 plus the vaccination fee for the first patient they visit.
“It’s about expanding the vaccination program, bringing it to people,” Hunt said.
“It’s recognising that each year we have up to 60,000 people who come into aged care and to ensure that there is a continuous vaccination program in our aged care facilities and in our disability facilities as those programs continue to go forward.
“That in-home visitation fee will assist … to provide access for all of Australia’s 30,000 plus GPs to choose if they so wish to be part of the program.”
Vaccine Operations Centre commodore Eric Young said Australia was on track to have a further 1.1 million doses of the vaccine distributed to more than 2800 locations across the country this week.
Asked about reports of people being told to come back in six weeks for their second Pfizer shot in Victoria, Hunt said the federal government’s advice had not changed.
“The states and territories have been delivering, I think, approximately 90 per cent of the doses in the due week – of the second doses, so that’s an extraordinary effort,” he said.
“I know that Victoria is focusing very much on ensuring now that they are booking people in.”
Hunt said he had a “very constructive” discussion with the Victorian Health Minister about early bookings.
“Some states and territories have early booking programs so when you book in for your first dose you book in for your second,” he said.
“They have brought forward an enormous amount of people and they obviously have to manage their doses within their total inventory, but we have made almost 500,000 additional doses available to Victoria over and above what would otherwise have been their allocation through this.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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