Australians over 50 will have access to a free doctor consultation to discuss getting vaccinated for COVID-19.
The new measure, announced by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Friday, has been welcomed by general practitioners.
“To assist our GPs, to assist and support those who are coming forward for vaccinations, there will be a new Medicare item for over-50s to allow for a general practice consultation,” Hunt said.
“It will be done by GPs … It will be bulk billed.”
Karen Price, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said the measure was urgently needed.
“We are dealing with increasing vaccine hesitancy right across the country,” she said.
“I’m seeing it in my own practice in Melbourne, almost all my patients have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.”
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had met with state and territory leaders to thrash out vaccine rollout changes, with the AstraZeneca jab no longer recommended for under-60s.
Experts had determined the risk of extremely rare but serious blood clots outweighed the jab’s benefits.
The recommended age has been revised up from 50, meaning all eligible people under 60 will be offered Pfizer.