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All hands on deck! That’s the message to Australia on COVID vaccine rollout

TJ Ryan Foundation Board member, Linda Shields, writes in Croakey (14.4.21) about concerns over Australia’s faltering COVID-19 vaccination rollout, suggesting much can be learned from the “all hands on deck” practitioner-led approaches successfully used in the United Kingdom and the United States.

‘Australia has done well with COVID-19, with fewer than 1,000 deaths so far, and far fewer cases than most other countries. Nonetheless, cracks are showing in our approach to the rollout of the vaccination programme. Because of our community success in prevention of disease spread, we have, perhaps, some flexibility in time to make sure the rollout is successful.

‘And while state governments are planning mass rollouts, the Federal Government seems to have really lost its way. At this second stage of the rollout, vaccines are being given by general practitioners (or at least, they are being given in GP surgeries, usually by registered nurses (RNs) employed by the GPs).

‘GP clinics are busy at the best of times – adding this work is a huge burden on most of them, and some argue that the financial recompense goes nowhere towards meeting the actual costs.

‘Given widespread concerns about the Federal Government’s planning for vaccine rollout, I thought it would be useful to learn from the experience of colleagues in the United Kingdom and United States, where there have been highly successful mass rollouts of the vaccine.’

Scott Morrison’s ‘new deal’ for a Covid-normal Australia is just the old deal he’s failed to deliver – that is to get us vaccinated

Katharine Murphy reports in The Guardian (2.7.21) on the federal government’s revised plan for the national Covid-19 vaccine rollout, suggesting that the Prime Minister’s announcement is ‘less an insight than a statement of the bleeding obvious’.

‘Scott Morrison is known as a great admirer of Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. But Morrison channelled the spirit of the other Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, when he strode back into the prime minister’s courtyard on Friday after his brief spell in quarantine, and declared there was a “new deal”.

‘Here was Australia’s plan for a plan – in this case, a pathway out of Covid-19. Four phases, with supplementary technocratic dot points. Four phases and technocratic dot points might sound like a gratuitous put-down, so let me be clear.

‘It is very important, given the increasing inter-jurisdictional fractiousness (and even without that) to have a plan that leaders in the federation can agree on and execute. Big tick – assuming it actually happens. (More of that in a bit.)

‘Persisting with the pluses, if we can ignore that teeth-clenching clunk of Morrison morphing from Teddy R to FDR for marketing purposes, and cast our eyes about for substance, some exists. As well as the phases and the dot points, there will be a body of work from the Doherty Institute. This work will form the evidence base to pilot Australia out of the pandemic and towards whatever constitutes Covid-normal.’

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