North East general practitioners have welcomed a government proposal to double the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered to GPs, but warned the roll-out should be strategic to avoid wastage.
On Friday, Acting Premier James Merlino asked the Commonwealth government to double the amount of vaccine distributed to Victorian GPs to cope with increased demand.
"People are having to wait weeks, we have seen long queues, we have also seen gaps in access, particularly in regional Victoria and in our peri-urban areas," he said.
The number of vaccine doses being delivered by North East GPs has increased significantly since the inoculation program began.
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Elmwood Medical Centre in Wodonga receives 300 doses of AstraZeneca a week, up from just 50 doses in April.
Director Gaurav Grover, who owns the practice with wife Dr Neetu Grover, said the clinic could easily handle another 300 doses a week.
However, Mr Grover said the government should not indiscriminately double GPs' doses as some practices would not have the infrastructure or staff to cope.
"It should be to certain clinics who have the visibility and have the capability do that, rather than every clinic being bombarded and doses going to waste," he said.
"The expiry is only three months, so there needs to be strategic thinking."
Gateway Health medical director Olivia Stuart said originally the service was given 100 doses a week to split between clinics in Wangaratta and Wodonga.
Now, Gateway Health is able to order 150 doses per city and will be moving to have clinics twice a week in each location.
Dr Stuart welcomed the government's focus on getting doses to GPs, but said for now the service was happy with the tripling of vaccines they'd already received.
Wodonga's vaccination hub opened exclusively for healthcare, aged care and disability staff on Saturday as part of the Victorian government's five-day vaccination blitz.
Food service assistant with Albury Wodonga Health Debbie Hunt used the special weekend session to get her second vaccine dose.
She said being vaccinated gives her peace of mind working in a hospital.
"For the safety of everyone there and the patients I feel like I need to," she said.
Mr Grover warned residents shouldn't wait for a disaster to line up for the jab.
"When Melbourne went into lockdown we started getting to get a spike, before that people were hesitant," he said.
"As a country we will struggle if that is the mindset, people should be thinking more about getting it now rather than delaying and waiting for another disaster."
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