Coronavirus: GPs to give COVID-19 vaccines from July as rollout ramps up

Patients wanting their COVID-19 vaccine will soon be able to go to their GPs.

Around a third of General Practices and a quarter of pharmacies are expected to join the ranks of COVID vaccinators from July as the rollout ramps up.

Highland Park Medical Centre in Auckland has been taking part in a trial for GPs to deliver the Pfizer vaccine.

"We've got the communication with the patients, they know us, we know them, we know how to do vaccines," Highland Park Medical GP Dr Brett Hyland says.

"I had an 80-year-old woman give a whoop when I said, 'Hey we can do it in our practice'."

It's for enrolled patients and is by appointment only - meaning no walk-ins. So far, it's gone well.

"We've done 77 patients in two days, so really proud of the administrative and nursing team. They've done an awesome job," clinical manager Stephanie Vance says.

GPs have been calling out to be part of the rollout since they are familiar with vaccines.

General Practice will be crucial to the vaccination of the general population come July.  

The country is currently delivering 12,000-16,000 doses a day, and that's planned to quadruple in the next two months.

Coronavirus: GPs to give COVID-19 vaccines from July as rollout ramps up
Photo credit: Getty Images

"It will take through July, I would imagine, to scale up to that volume of around 50,000 to 70,000 vaccinations a day," Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says.

Dr Bloomfield admitted on Thursday that three months ago, they didn't think they'd be able to involve many GPs at all - he thought it would be mainly confined to hubs, and that's due to the storage logistics for the vaccine.

Now, they're hoping to involve 30 to 40 percent of GPs, making it much more accessible.

There's no shortage of GPs lining up to give the vaccine.

"The survey showed 60 percent of our members were really keen and about 30 percent were a little bit unsure, but that was because they didn't have enough information," says Dr Samantha Murton, president of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

She adds vaccines are their "gig" since it's what they do every day.

GPs will join around 800 venues that will be delivering vaccines around the country from July.