Delays to North Richmond Community Health’s Vaccination rollout
The Board and team at North Richmond Community Health (NRCH) are delighted to have been approved as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. We look forward to our role in this ground breaking program that will offer greater protections to our staff and community against COVID-19.
Nevertheless, we are disappointed with the delays in the delivery of the vaccinations. This has unfortunately caused NRCH to cancel planned Vaccination Clinics this week, after many weeks of planning and preparation to roll out the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccinations.
NRCH was approved 100 vaccinations only per week following an application process to become a registered vaccination clinic, and after indicating it has capacity to deliver 400 per week. NRCH has planned and identified priority groups for the 1b roll out, which includes our health care staff, 800 existing clients identified that meet the eligibility criteria, along with all other 1b eligible community members.
NRCH is still waiting on the delivery of the vaccinations, and this has impacted on staff receiving their vaccinations, created a workforce issue as rostered staff were no longer required, and caused delays to our planned rollout.
The Board of Management is acutely aware that NRCH provides services to some of the most disadvantaged, vulnerable members of our community, and is working hard to ensure we can provide vaccinations as soon as possible to meet the expectations and trust placed on us.
The limited number of current allocated vaccinations and uncertainty of delivery has presented challenges for NRCH including:
- Disruptions to current plan and inability to plan for future clinics
- Not having clear messaging for community about when vaccines will be available
- Inability to manage expectations of community wanting to get vaccinated at NRCH
- Workforce resources wasted, including GP session times
NRCH’s Board of Management strongly recommends the Federal and State authorities consider a State funded program to provide greater flexibility to deliver the vaccination program via outreach clinics. This would provide vaccinations to high risk and vulnerable clients who may have barriers to accessing the established vaccination hubs or GP clinics. The current Medicare funded model is limiting, and does not meet the needs of most vulnerable communities.
NRCH extends the offer to support identifying solutions to current challenges with the distribution mechanisms of the COVID-19 vaccinations in a safe and timely manner.