Coronavirus: GPs 'utterly disgusted' DHB staff were given leftover COVID-19 vaccines instead of them

Doctors have told Newshub they're "utterly disgusted" and "outraged" DHB staff were invited to get leftover COVID vaccines at the weekend, and they weren't.

On Friday, February 26 at 6:38pm, an email was sent to some staff at Auckland DHB inviting them to get vaccinated on Saturday and Sunday. The email states that it was to ensure "we didn't waste any vaccine doses due to them not being used before they expire".

Newshub understands that some DHB staff were told to go to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Auckland to get the jab, and that those vaccinated included orthopaedic surgeons, renal physicians and fertility specialists.

A doctor who asked to remain anonymous told Newshub it's "utterly disgusting".

"DHB doctors getting vaccines but not GPs who are being refused - GPs are essentially running the medical response at present, doing swabbing and seeing the vast majority of patients with viral COVID symptoms," the doctor said.

The DHB's email goes on to state that they "only want those invited to turn up to be vaccinated."

Another doctor told Newshub the GP workforce is "outraged" but "as always, we will continue to provide quality care for our patients as we always do".

New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) Chair Dr Kate Baddock told Newshub the process for getting the leftover vaccines sounded like a "confused scramble".

The NZMA is calling on DHBs to be more transparent about which groups of health workers are on standby lists for the vaccine and how they are prioritised.

The organisation says DHBs should confirm their commitment to following the protocol and "be accountable if that does not happen".

"I have not seen and I don't know anybody who has seen this 'prioritisation list'," Dr Baddock said.

"And I think it is really important that the DHBs are really transparent about this. Whatever that list looks like, it should be made public. And then the DHB needs to be held accountable to holding to that finalisation."

She told Newshub there was "some real fury out there" from GPs when it was discovered swabbing practises hadn't been contacted to come forward for vaccination, while low-risk hospital staffers had been.

"We acknowledge that with the change in alert levels the South Auckland population is our priority for community vaccination, and that is as it should be," said Dr Baddock.

"If, however, vaccination of health workers on the standby list is initiated, those who are testing possible COVID cases in the community must be called in first."

National's COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop told Newshub it appeared to be an "unfair and arbitrary system, with people getting it [the vaccine] who aren't a priority".

Newshub has approached the Northern Region DHB for comment, but they're yet to respond.