PCIG Response: Use of Medical Students in COVID Vaccine Delivery

Over the last few weeks Dr Maria Boulton has asked a number of questions at the PCIG and directly to the task force. Some of these have now been answered.

A question and response are below:

How can a general practice employ health students to participate in COVID vaccine delivery when it’s not part of their formal clinical placement in similar ways that the jurisdictions are doing it?

Response:

We broadly support the engagement of students in primary care settings to assist with the COVID-19 response. There are a number of regulatory and employment arrangements, addition to whether such work should count towards professional experience placement (PEP) hours, that we encourage you to explore to enable such opportunities.

We further encourage you to liaise with all relevant jurisdictions on such a proposal, especially those that have not recognised students in their poisons legislation.

PCIG Responses : Who can Provide Vaccination under MBS?

Over the last few weeks Dr Maria Boulton has asked a number of questions at the PCIG and directly to the task force. Some of these have now been answered.

A question and response are below:

Who can provide vaccination services under MBS?

Response:

Activities associated with the claiming of the COVID-19 MBS vaccine suitability assessment items may also be undertaken by a suitably qualified health professional who is working within their scope of practice.

Where a vaccination-related service is to be provided on behalf of a medical practitioner by a suitably qualified health professional, the medical practitioner must first consider whether the service is in accordance with accepted medical practice. This includes assessing if the suitably qualified health professional has the appropriate skills and training to administer the vaccine.

Important Note: Medical practitioners are prohibited from acting in the role of “suitably qualified health professional” on behalf of another medical practitioner. Under sub-section 3(17)(a) of the Health Insurance Act 1973, a service is taken to be rendered on behalf of a medical practitioner if, and only if, it is rendered by another person who is not a medical practitioner, and who provides the service, in accordance with accepted medical practice, under the supervision of the medical practitioner.

A suitably qualified health professional may assist a GP or Other Medical Practitioner (OMP) to provide a COVID-19 vaccine to a patient provided all of the following conditions are met:

  • the health professional is in a professional category regulated under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and listed on the website to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
  • the provision of vaccinations is within the health professional’s scope of practice.
  • the health professional is qualified and trained to provide vaccinations safely, and has completed all mandatory Australian Government training associated with the delivery of COVID-19 vaccination services.
  • the health professional meets all relevant state or territory government rules and standards governing immunisation services.
  • the supervising GP or OMP, under whose care the vaccination is provided, is satisfied that the health professional meets all rules and standards set by the Australian Government and the state or territory government within whose jurisdiction the vaccination service is provided.
  • the supervising GP or OMP is physically present at the location at which the vaccine suitability assessment service is undertaken and accepts full responsibility for the service. Note: services rendered under the vaccine suitability assessment services only attract a Medicare rebate where the service is billed in the name of the supervising GP or OMP.

PCIG Responses – No Faults Compensation Scheme (Indemnity Program)

Over the last few weeks Dr Maria Boulton has asked a number of questions at the PCIG and directly to the task force. Some of these have now been answered.

A question and response are below:

Indemnity-related question ( No faults compensation scheme).

Response:

On 28 August 2021, the Australian Government announced details of the no fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme, following extensive consultation with the peak medical, healthcare, business, and insurance sectors to ensure a comprehensive national Scheme.

The Scheme will provide people with quicker access to compensation where they have suffered an adverse event related to a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved COVID-19 vaccination or its administration, irrespective of where the vaccination occurred.

If members are undertaking vaccinator roles using TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccines in private health care settings, this would still be considered within the scope of the Government’s COVID-19 Vaccines Program, and such practitioners’ patients would therefore be covered by the Scheme.

While side effects, or adverse events, from COVID-19 vaccinations can occur, most are mild and last no longer than a couple of days. Serious and life-threatening side effects are very rare. This Scheme provides a safety net to support those affected.

It also ensures that health professionals administering vaccines, including members, will be able to continue with their crucial role in the vaccine roll out with assurance that the claims scheme will offer them protection against time consuming litigation processes.

The Scheme will be administered by Services Australia and will provide people with a single front door to a simple and quick administrative process for compensation. The TGA will provide guidance on recognised adverse reactions as part of their established surveillance program.

The Scheme will cover the costs of injuries $5,000 and above due to a proven adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or its administration.

The cost of compensation payments under this Scheme will be fully funded by the Commonwealth and is designed to help the small number of people who unfortunately experience a moderate to significant adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme will be backdated to February 2021 and provide Australians with an alternative, administrative option to seek compensation, rather than a complex and costly court process.

20.3 M Vaccine Doses Delivered

 

At 2 September 20, 329 483 doses of COVID-19 Vaccine had been delivered.

10,649,670 had been delivered by General Practice – from 5,347 participating Practices

The full program summary is here

 

COVID Update Briefs

These are some  updates to the vaccination program that we have found over the last week.  If you need more information please contact the AGPA Secretariat.

  • On 19 August 2021, the TGA approved a name change for the  COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca to VAXZEVRIA.
    The name is now consistent with that used overseas, including in the European Union and Canada.
    This is expected to clarify that the vaccine produced by CSL and Seqirus in Melbourne is the same as that produced internationally, and will help facilitate international recognition for Australians who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Pfizer rollout – general practices who have expressed an interest in administering the Pfizer vaccine are expected be transitioned to Pfizer over a four-week period in September/October.
    •  All practices have received the same dose allocation.
    • Start dates and allocation are based on available vaccine supply.
  • ATAGI
    •  ATAGI  has recommended a shorter interval of 4 to 8 weeks between the first and second doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) in an outbreak setting (versus the routine 12-week interval that provides optimal longer-term protection) so that maximal protection against COVID-19 can be achieved earlier.
    • ATAGI recommended strategies  includes increasing the interval between first and second doses of Pfizer (Comirnaty) from 3 weeks to 6 weeks, to facilitate earlier access to first doses in areas of greatest risk of COVID-19..
    • The ATAGI statement of 2 August is here

 

PCIG Notes 25 August 2021

Department of Health – Primary Health Care COVID-19 Response Teleconference 25 August  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. Read more

PCIG Notes 1 September

Department of Health – Primary Health Care COVID-19 Response Teleconference 1 September 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. Read more

10.5 Million Australians Vaccinated

Over 10.5 M Australians have had at least one dose of Vaccine.

GP has delivered 50% of the 16.5m doses delivered to date.

The full daily breakdown report is here

COVID Update Briefs

These are some  updates to the vaccination program that we have found over the last week.  If you need more information please contact the AGPA Secretariat.

Read more

PCIG Notes 18 August

Department of Health – Primary Health Care COVID-19 Response Teleconference 18  August 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. Read more