#326 Communications and Advocacy update

22 July 2021

Here’s an update on a few of the issues AMA Victoria is working on for members, including:

Clarification sought on eligibility of all healthcare workers to receive Pfizer vaccine

AMA Victoria has recently written to the Victorian Department of Health (DH) to seek clarification on the eligibility of all healthcare workers to receive the Pfizer vaccine, regardless of age. 

We noted that recent communications from the DH have indicated that all healthcare workers are eligible. For instance, the Department’s 12 July communications update, which we shared in last week’s edition of the Checkup, stated that, “From Friday 9 July 2021, the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 will allow the priority categories listed in this bulletin to make a booking for Pfizer regardless of their age, although people aged 60 or over will be able to choose AstraZeneca if they wish”. These priority categories include, “All healthcare workers (i.e. eligible under Phase 1A and 1B)” that remain unvaccinated.

However, we have relayed to the DH that we have been informed by a small number of members – working doctors aged over 60 years - that they and their staff have been unable to book an appointment within the last week through the 1800 number, as the clinics nearest to them offering Pfizer vaccinations are still refusing to make appointments for those aged over 60. 

Accordingly, we have asked the DH to clarify whether all unvaccinated healthcare workers are indeed eligible for Pfizer regardless of age (as is our understanding, and which the Department’s clear words indicate), and if they are so eligible, to please communicate this message to departmental staff and practices administering the vaccine as a matter of urgency.

We will inform members who contacted us on this issue of the DH’s response as soon as possible. In the interim, members are advised to attempt to make a booking online here

Calling for expressions of interest: Represent AMA Victoria at Victoria’s Climate Change Adaption Action Plan Consultations

The Victorian Government is seeking input from AMA Victoria on the draft Health and Human Services Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2022-2026. The draft plan addresses the impacts of climate change and proposes 14 strategic actions that Victoria’s health and human services system can take during the next five years to address current climate change impacts, reduce barriers to adaptation planning and action, and lay the foundations for transformational adaptation.

The Government recognises that doctors’ involvement and interest in the Victorian health and human services system positions them to provide constructive and meaningful feedback to shape the final plan and determine the way the Government adapts to the effects of climate change across the health and human services system.

To this end, the Victorian Department of Health will be holding an online consultation forum for a small group of health organisations, including AMA Victoria, on Monday 26 July between 11:30am-12:30pm to discuss the plan and facilitate discussion.

We know that this issue is of considerable concern to our members and the health sector more broadly. There are limited positions available to represent us at this consultation forum. If you wish to represent AMA Victoria, please send your expression of interest to Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at LewisH@amavic.com.au by Friday 23 July

If you wish to contribute towards our written submission on the plan, please send your feedback through to Lewis by Tuesday 3 August.

For for more information on the draft plan: The Draft Health and Human Services Climate Change AAP 2022-26 | Engage Victoria.

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