Phase 1b COVID-19 vaccine begin in SA March 22, online eligibility checker live, questions answered

NEXT STAGE: Federal Government announces Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccine and new online service finder to assist with booking appointments. Photo: Shutterstock
NEXT STAGE: Federal Government announces Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccine and new online service finder to assist with booking appointments. Photo: Shutterstock

The next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program begins next week with more than 1000 general practices dotted across Australia, including country SA health sites, geared up for the roll out.

The state's GP services will come online on Monday, March 22.

Under Phase 1b, the vaccines will support the elderly and vulnerable, with the program set to increase to more than 4000 doses given by the end of April.

Importantly, the federal government has released an Eligibility Checker site which enables the SA public to find their local available GP service to make an appointment.

Appointments on the service finder will increase as general practices establish their systems and vaccine supply.

More appointments will become available as more clinics come on-board.

Federal Barker MP Tony Pasin, who announced the latest direction to his electorate on Wednesday evening, said the Phase 1b further strengthens Australia's fight against the deadly disease.

He said it also ensures an efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines across SA.

General Practices to come online include:

  • Waikerie Medical Centre
  • Loxton Health Centre
  • Renmark Medical Clinic
  • Berri Medical Clinic
  • Barmera Medical Clinic
  • Tanunda Medical Centre
  • Nuriootpa Medical Centre

General Practice respiratory clinics include:

  • Angaston Respiratory Clinic
  • Murray Bridge Respiratory Clinic
  • Naracoorte Respiratory Clinic

"This will enable people to locate their nearest general practice providing General Practice Respiratory Clinic vaccinations and link through to their online booking system or phone number to make the appointment," Mr Pasin explained.

"Vaccines are the game changer in our fight against the COVID-19 virus and I urge everyone in Australia to come forward and get vaccinated when they are able to. It will protect themselves, their family, and their community." Mr Pasin said.

Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt also assured that the roll out would continue to grow in the coming weeks.

"This staged scale up will align with the supply of the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine, and as more vaccine becomes available more services will come online," the minister said.

Phase 1b includes vulnerable groups, such as older people and people with certain underlying medical conditions.

Furthermore, more than 100 Aboriginal health services and 130 Commonwealth operated GP-led respiratory clinics, who have been instrumental partners in the COVID-19 response to date, will also be progressively added as additional vaccine providers.

The minister said that the public will still be able to book their vaccine appointments directly at a participating general practice - as they do now, for instance, to get a seasonal flu vaccine.

As the rollout moves into Phase 2, additional general practices and selected community pharmacists will also participate in the program.

The Federal Government said that no person will miss out, whether they live in a city or or rural and remote location.

There will be six million Australians in Phase 1b, and not all will be able to be vaccinated immediately.

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Where do I go and how do I book in?

Go to Department of Health website. Using the Eligibility Checker, you can find out which phase of the rollout you are in. If you are eligible, you will be able to view vaccination clinics and book an appointment online or via phone. If you are not yet eligible, you will be able to register your interest so that you can be notified when you are able to book. If you prefer not to use the online option, you can call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080.

Will I be able to choose where I can book?

You will be able to view and select clinic locations based on the postcode you enter.

What happens if there are no clinics or appointments in my area?

A list of Commonwealth vaccination clinics, participating General Practices, and state and territory vaccination clinics will be made available as they come online.

Do I have to use the Eligibility Checker in order to book?

The checker is a helpful tool to help you find out if you are currently eligible to book.

The checker will guide you through to a simple way to find and book vaccine appointments, or help you register to be notified if you are part of a later phase. If you prefer to book appointments directly at a participating general practice or Commonwealth state vaccination clinic, you can contact them directly to do so.

The Eligibility Checker is available by visiting www.health.gov.au.

This story COVID 1b phase announced, questions answered first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.