PCIG Meeting Notes 16 June

Department of Health – Primary Health Care COVID-19 Response Teleconference 16 June 2021 – Meeting notes from Dr Maria Boulton

The Primary Care Implementation Group (PCIG) is an online meeting that includes most primary healthcare peak bodies. It is convened weekly by the Department of Health as part of the COVID-19 response.
Dr Maria Boulton attends on behalf of the AGPA.

General Notes from the Meeting

Over 6 million COVID vaccine doses have been delivered to date

GP Pfizer Vaccine Program – Letters are being sent to GP clinics re-Pfizer vaccines today. Clinics are being onboarded from July to October

Await clarification whether GP needs to be onsite when COVID vaccines are provided to RACF residents or home visits, or whether nurse can bill on behalf of GP

Mixing Vaccine Types – ATAGI and TGA are reviewing evidence on mixing vaccine types, at the moment advice remains that both doses should be of the same vaccine if there are no contraindications.

No advice at the moment as to how to time a second vaccine dose of a different COVID vaccine when they have had severe side effects with the first.

Pregnant women are not eligible automatically for the COVID vaccine, they need to meet eligibility criteria

The Pandemic, General Practice, Doctor Shortages and Burn Out

Whether we like it or not, we are in the 3rd and 4th wave of the Pandemic, and things have pretty much progressed as expected.

At the Primary care level, we as GPs are feeling the pressure. We are feeling the impact of the interruption on chronic care, and the mental health caseload has exploded. Many health professionals are exhausted and burnt out. Successive governments have not increased the Medicare rebates to keep up with the health care costs. We have been asked to bulk bill all telehealth, and Covid vaccines, which we have all done as our patients have needed us. But our significant pressure now is that there are not enough GPs on the ground to do the work required.

Continue reading “The Pandemic, General Practice, Doctor Shortages and Burn Out”

DoH COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Primary Care Update 17 June

The DoH have published an update on COVID-19 Vaccine Roll out including:

  • Updated ATAGI advice on the preferred aged groups Pfizer and Astra Zeneca Vaccines
  • CMO Statement on Updated ATAGI advice
  • Updated consent form
  • Decision making guide for women who are pregnant, breast-feeding or planning pregnancy
  • MBS Flag-Fall for Vaccine Suitability Assessment Services
  • Updates on Expansion of AZ General Practice Roll Out and GP delivery of Pfizer Vaccine.

    The update is here

Flu Vax Program 6 June

As at COB 6 June 2021:

  • 6,590,169 doses of seasonal influenza vaccines have been administered and entered in to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) in 2021, compared to around 8,451,480 doses for the same time in 2020 and 5,712,432 doses in 2019.
    • 873,582 (13.2%) doses have been administered by Pharmacies and 4,603,618 (69.3%) by GPs.
  • TGA has released 20,424,883 doses for the Australian market:
    • 9,346,545 doses for the National Immunisation Program (NIP) as well as state and territory government programs
    • 11,078,338 doses for the private market.

Geographical breakdown is here

Timing of administration of other vaccines, including influenza vaccine

DoH advise there has been a change in the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advice, stating that the preferred minimum interval between receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccine, including the influenza vaccine, is 7 days.


A shorter interval (i.e. less than 7 days, including co-administration) is acceptable in the following settings:
• increased risk of COVID-19 or another vaccine-preventable disease (e.g. COVID-19 outbreak, influenza outbreak, tetanus-prone wound); or
• logistical issues e.g. difficulty scheduling visits to maintain the 7 day interval.
This advice has been updated on the DoH Clinical considerations page, and all other relevant webpages.

DOH Information Update 11 June

DoH Update (here) for 11 June includes:

Additional Practices are being onboarded and will commence delivering vaccines from 21 June

EOIs to administer Pfizer Vaccine

Timing of other vaccines including influenza vaccine – minimum interval has been reduced to 7 days and may be shorter in some circumstances

Uploading vaccine information to AIR for vaccinations not administered by the consulting GP

PCIG Meeting Notes 9 June 2021

Department of Health – Primary Health Care COVID-19 Response Teleconference 02/06/2021 – Meeting notes from Dr Trish Baker

The Primary Care Implementation Group (PCIG) is an online meeting that includes most primary healthcare peak bodies. It is convened weekly by the Department of Health as part of the COVID-19 response.
Dr Trish Baker attended the 9 June meeting on behalf of the AGPA.

General Notes from the Meeting

EOIs for Pfizer – GP must submit by Thursday (10 June) midnight. Many practices are unaware of this deadline so there is a need to extend the cut-off date. This was acknowledged as a problem and will be looked into.

Capacity issues around practices giving second AZ vaccine while simultaneously commencing Pfizer  roll out for under 50s. The issue was acknowledged and we need to see how this one plays out.

MBS Item Review – Review around the MBS item for suitability of COVID vaccination in light of the additional complexity of the consultation was raised. No plans known for change at this time.

Supply of Pfizer Vaccine – Information sought around peak supply of Pfizer vaccine. Additional supplies of Pfizer are expected imminently. There will be a big increase in Q3 and maximum supply in Q4.

Relaxation of 19AB provisions sought to allow non VR “after hours” doctors to work “in hours” giving COVID vaccinations. This is being examined currently.

Vaccine hesitancy is a live issue. There is a need for an information campaign that resonates with the community.

Bulk billing figures are at an all time high. What is the BB rate of consultations taking out the COVID Telehealth items? This information is becoming available. 

Mixed Vaccines Hospitals here and several overseas countries have combined giving an AZ with a  Pfizer vaccine.
Many of our 1A and 1B patients, including many staff in GP clinics, are under 50 and have had one AZ.  
Is there support for giving them a Pfizer jab as the second dose  within GP?  
Response was that this is being examined by ATAGI. At this stage the advice is that the second AZ dose is safe if the first was OK – so no change yet.

Moderna booster for VOC are expected early next year – possibly even late this year.

Expression of Interest for GP to Participate in Future Primary Care Pfizer Program

The Department of Health has released an Expression of Interest for general practices who are currently participating in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, as approved as part of the Expression of Interest undertaken from January to March 2021, to indicate their interest to administer the Pfizer vaccine.

This would be in addition to their current administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It is anticipated that all participating general practices will be given the opportunity to administer Pfizer by October 2021. A limited number of practices may be invited to commence from July in areas of need, and for priority populations, based on vaccine supply.

More details are here.

PCIG Meeting Notes 2 June 2021

Department of Health – Primary Health Care COVID-19 Response Teleconference 02/06/2021 – Meeting notes from Dr Maria Boulton

The Primary Care Implementation Group (PCIG) is an online meeting that includes most primary healthcare peak bodies. It is convened weekly by the Department of Health as part of the COVID-19 response.
Dr Maria Boulton attends on behalf of the AGPA.

Comments from AGPA

Practices are seeing a seeing a spike in demand for COVID vaccines. 
There are concerns about significantly increased demand when we start doing second COVID vaccine doses in two  weeks.
It is important we take full advantage of the increase in demand.
It is important we get the vaccines to the GPs who have the capacity and the ability to get them in people’s arms as soon as possible.

Suggested making the RACGP webinar on TTS more widely available

General Notes from the Meeting

Since the last meeting an EOI has been sent out seeking GP clinics to join the program.

Flu vaccines-tracking behind from last year at the same time. Please encourage members to encourage community to have flu vaccines.

Melbourne lockdown will continue as was announced.

A record number of vaccinations have been given in Primary Care in the past 24 hours – 84,000.

Victoria– there will be a special blitz over the next week for anyone working in aged or disability care to be prioritised/fast tracked at vaccination hubs.

Some GP led respiratory  clinics are now administering Pfizer as well as Astra Zeneca. Still waiting on details on when other GP clinics will be given doses of Pfizer.

CSL now producing one million AZ doses per week, some going overseas

Will additional vaccine be available ? We are starting the second AZ doses soon so there will be an increase in demand.

PPE availability for GPs, P2/N95 masks are available, especially in Melbourne. Requests should go to PHN.

Discussed issues around making COVID vaccination mandatory for aged care and disability care workers. DOH seeking feedback on this.

Please note: These are Maria’s notes from the meeting and may be incomplete.