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‘Vast majority’ of GPs have received Covid-19 vaccination

The vast majority of working GPs have received their Covid-19 vaccination, according to the Chair of the IMO GP Committee. 

Donegal GP Dr Denis McCauley told the Medical Independent (MI) that efforts are continuing to vaccinate all practice staff, including practice nurses, before surgeries begin administering the Oxford Astra/Zeneca vaccine in February. 

“I’d be surprised if it’s only a couple of hundred [GPs] that haven’t been vaccinated at this stage,” said Dr McCauley

“The majority of GPs have been vaccinated. We would like to mop that up before the rest of the vaccine arrives. It’s going well. It’s been a great success.”

After a frustrating few weeks for GPs in late December and early January due to fears about delays in vaccinations among the cohort, GPs have welcomed the increase in rollout among the profession. 

Further information on administrative and storage considerations in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine is due to be provided to GPs next week.

More than 2,000 GPs who attended the ICGP’s weekly Wednesday webinar were told that more details on the impending rollout would be provided shortly. 

According to Dr McCauley, as the supply row between the EU and producers of the Oxford Astra/Zeneca vaccine continues, it remains unclear when and how many vaccines will be received by GPs in the coming months. 

“We will roll with whatever we’re given. We just have to wait and see. 

“We were expecting enough to do the over 80s perhaps in the last two weeks of February but I think in the last few days all bets are off. We will react to whatever we’re given.”

GPs are currently going through their lists to see how many patients they have in certain age groups in order to prepare for the rollout. 

Amid ongoing confusion among the public on when they will be offered the vaccine, Dr McCauley said patients would be asked to engage with the vaccination rollout in two ways. 

They have the option of using an online system through which they will receive a text message inviting them to make an appointment online or alternatively, the GP will ring the patient to offer an appointment, he said. 

The Oxford Astra/Zeneca vaccine comes in packs of one hundred and the volume of supply deliveries received will impact the location of vaccinations, said Dr McCauley. 

“Within our practice in an afternoon we can give 290 vaccines. Now that’s for the flu vaccine, it will be slightly different with this. But if we just receive 100 vaccines we won’t need to rent bigger properties but if they say, ‘we’ll give you 2,000 next week’ then we’ll go rent a hall. It depends on what we’re given.”

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