There are claims doctors are being left in the dark about how and when a COVID-19 vaccine will be administered in Tasmania.
Launceston Health Hub director Dr Jerome Muir Wilson said his clinic had not received any detail from the state or federal governments around how many doses it would receive or what funding would be provided for delivery.
He said the clinic had dealt with hundreds of inquiries from concerned patients seeking further information, and were now taking steps to launch their own vaccine information website - in the absence of anything from the government.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"I understand it's a big task to do, but I think the public craves information to make decisions and plans. The people who are going to be key to delivering it also need that same level of information," he said.
"We seem to be behind the other states. I have colleagues in Queensland who a fortnight ago had expressions of interest documentations and got involved.
"The only way I have learned about COVID vaccination rollout is through the press ... which is frustrating - now that we are six weeks out."
Subject to approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, COVID-19 vaccine administration is expected to commence in mid to late February, using a phase approach, initially targeting high priority groups.
GPs have been identified as being eligible to receive the vaccine as part of phase 1b.
GPs working in COVID-19 respiratory clinics and those working in high risk COVID-19 environments will be eligible as part of phase 1a.
The Launceston Medical Centre has hosted a COVID-19 respiratory clinic since May last year.
Based on its own planning, Dr Muir Wilson said it was aiming to deliver up to 5000 vaccines a week. However, this was reliant on further details.
"At this stage we're planning on delivering a seven day a week vaccine clinic, but that's really hard when you don't know budget or vaccine availability," he said.
"General practice needs to know these details ASAP as staff are all investing in preparation not knowing if there is sustainable funding available and sustainable vaccine supply."
A state government spokesperson said the health minister and senior Health Department representatives had provided briefings on COVID-19 vaccinations for health representative bodies "as part of regular health stakeholder teleconferences".
"The Commonwealth Government has also released the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and is providing regular information on COVID-19 vaccines via their website," they said.
"Tasmanians can be assured that a comprehensive public education and communications campaign will be rolled out in Tasmania, aligning with the Commonwealth campaign."
At the time, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said a Commonwealth campaign was pending.
On Monday Premier Peter Gutwein said once the TGA have signed off on the vaccine, Tasmanians could take great comfort knowing it's "followed the appropriate processes".
A state government spokespersons said it and public health would continue to work closely with the Commonwealth on preparing for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.
"We have high levels of take up of vaccinations here in Tasmania, and I am confident that Tasmanians will continue to take proactive steps to help keep their community safe."
The federal government has been contacted for comment.
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.