With every Tamworth resident over 50 able to access the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Monday, one doctor believes the best tool against vaccine hesitancy is your local GP.
Dr Ian Kamerman from Northwest Health has been using a simple strategy to convince patients who come in for another health complaint to also get the jab.
"People are coming in for other things. My ice breaker I use is: which vaccinations are we waiting to have today? Often they say well I'm here for the flu needle; and I say actually I'd like to give you a COVID vaccination first. It's very unusual to get a rejection. That's why I think general practice is the best place for providing mass vaccinations in Australia," he said.
When asked to estimate how much interest he's seen locally in getting the jab he said he's seeing "heaps!"
"Every patient I've talked to today, that's over 50, has had a shot," he said on Friday.
Tamworth's respiratory clinic, which is run by Northwest Health, has been offering vaccines two days a week, but Dr Kamerman said they'd like to bump it up to more.
Both days tend to be almost booked up in advance, and vaccines tend to go into arms at about the same rate as they arrive in Tamworth, he said.
The expanding rollout is a good sign, but the biggest impediment remains vaccine hesitancy, he said.
"If people have got any doubts talk to their GP," he said.
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