When seeking to schedule a Covid vaccine appointment for children aged five to eleven years old, some parents and caregivers are instructed to “check again in the next few weeks.”
The federal government said earlier in December that spaces would be available through its immunisation clinic finding website starting on December 15, with the first appointments beginning on January 10.
However, several suburbs get a message stating that “Clinics are currently processing orders for the 5-11 year old vaccine.” when searching for appointments by postcode. Please check again in a few weeks if you can’t find an appropriate clinic or appointment.”
Prof Alexandra Martiniuk, an epidemiologist at the University of Sydney, said she had no luck booking appointments for her six and nine-year-old daughters through the HotDoc and NSW Health websites. She was also unable to schedule an appointment with any of the GP offices she contacted.
“They didn’t have any reservations,” she explained. “I double-checked today [Tuesday], and HotDoc says bookings will begin in five weeks, and numerous GPs say to call back later.”
Martiniuk expressed fear that once appointments were available, booking services will become overburdened as people rushed to get appointments before school resumed in 2022.
In Guildford, a Perth suburb, a father said GPs in his region told him they didn’t have any appointment dates for children aged five to eleven and were doubtful of availability.
“This is not unique to my neighbourhood,” he informed the press.
For help, the father dialled the national Covid hotline.
“Staff did not give any hints as to when bookings will become available and simply mentioned the January administration start date,” he stated.
“Phoning [federal health minister Greg Hunt’s] office was a frustrating experience, with their office manager recommending calling GPs but not specifying which GPs could take appointments. When asked explicitly, they were unable to declare unequivocally that you cannot book.”