HotDoc rushes out COVID-19 booking availability for under 40s

Patient engagement platform HotDoc has rolled out the ability for people aged under 40 to book a COVID-19 vaccine online within hours of the change in official government policy on Monday, and is also now allowing patients to search for an appointment based on the brand they are eligible for.

While some confusion still reigns over the official advice on whether under 40s should get the AstraZeneca vaccine, the ability to book into a general practice to do so is now available.

HotDoc says that following Monday night’s national cabinet meeting that GPs will be indemnified for administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to patients under 40 who want one, they can now book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment using HotDoc.

Patients can also search for an appointment based on their nearest location and will be directed to an available clinic based on the vaccine brand they are eligible for. HotDoc said this was essentially the best way for patients under 40 to connect with a GP willing to administer AstraZeneca.

The new no-fault indemnity scheme will cover GPs who provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to under 60-year-olds if they ask for it.

“Following the National Cabinet decision to make it possible for those under 60s to access the AstraZeneca vaccine, HotDoc worked into the night to allow for this change,” HotDoc CEO Ben Hurst said.

HotDoc is also able to support GP clinics offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appointments. GPs are set to become part of the Pfizer rollout from next week.

“GP clinics remain the bedrock for vaccine distribution in Australia,” Dr Hurst said. “Hopefully, by supporting these new changes, we are enabling the best possible patient experience and boosting the rollout Australia-wide.”

There is still some confusion over the new policy, with the AMA saying it supported and had lobbied for the no-fault indemnity clause for GPs, but that it still went by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s (ATAGI) recommendation that the Pfizer vaccine is the preferred vaccine for under 60s due to an increased risk of rare clotting events linked to AstraZeneca.

AMA president Omar Khorshid told the Guardian that he does not endorse Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement on Monday that anyone under 40 can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“It took us by surprise, and it’s hard to know how to take that announcement because I think it’s going to be a limited number of people to take it up, given that they would be going against the expert Atagi recommendation,” Dr Khorshid told Guardian Australia on Tuesday.

“Our recommendation is still really for patients to follow the Atagi advice. Be patient and have the Atagi-recommended vaccine when it’s available. I am certainly still backing the expert advice at this stage.”

However, he said the introduction of a no-fault indemnity scheme for GPs and vaccine providers was welcome news and would give GPs more confidence providing vaccines and peace of mind to patients.

“We will now work with government to extend the Medicare support for COVID-19 vaccine consultations to Australians under the age of 50, in order to support GPs to provide information to patients around the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines and assist patients in making an informed decision, as announced by the Prime Minister,” Dr Khorshid said.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: HotDoc, COVID-19

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