Australia's general practices stand ready to work with Government to begin vaccinating vulnerable Australians against HINI (Swine Flu) as soon as a vaccine becomes available, the AMA said today.
AMA Federal President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said general practices were the most logical venues to carry out the majority of Swine Flu vaccinations.
"The Federal Government is to be congratulated for ordering 21 million doses of the Swine Flu vaccine, which is currently being developed," Dr Pesce said.
"GPs and their practice nurses should be responsible for carrying out the vast majority of vaccinations. General practices have in place the required infrastructure, experience and local presence to carry out a large-scale vaccination program.
"The Government needs to work with general practice groups to finalise plans to distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible. Vulnerable people such as pregnant women, those with chronic illnesses, the elderly and health workers who come into contact with patients suffering from swine flu should be vaccinated first."
United General Practice Australia, which represents GP groups (including the AMA) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, recently urged the Federal Government to work with the medical profession to draw up plans to roll out the Swine Flu vaccine.
Dr Pesce said many GPs were treating increasing numbers of patients with suspected or confirmed cases of Swine Flu.
"While most cases of Swine Flu are mild, some patients, especially those with underlying health conditions, are becoming extremely ill. It's important that GPs are able to begin vaccinating vulnerable patients as soon as possible," he said.
The Government hopes to begin a nation-wide Swine Flu vaccination program in October.