More than 50 general practices in the ACT have responded to the government's call to be part in the priority phase of COVID-19 vaccine delivery.
The Canberra clinics will be among more than 2000 "points of presence" when Australians begin receiving the vaccine in a few weeks' time. The government wants everyone to have access to a free vaccine by the end of October.
The city of Perth is now the only area of Australia in local lockdown. No new cases of the virus were found one day into the lockdown, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the state's effort to stop the spread of a confirmed case of the UK strain.
"It's not just one case," Mr Morrison said. "It's a case of a more virulent strain of which we know little about."
The entire cohort of federal politicians from WA were granted an exemption to attend Parliament this week.
While the PM has supposed state and territory suppression efforts, the federal government has pinned its vaccine strategy as fundamental to the country's recovery.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the uptake from the GP community was a credit to them. He also launched an expression of interest call for pharmacies.
Ochre Health's seven Canberra clinics are among the practices which want to take part in the vaccine campaign.
Ochre director of medical services John Hall was confident the practices, which are some of the biggest within the regional organisation, were well-equipped for the first stage of the rollout.
He said having enough specialised fridges to store the vaccine, a strong nurse workforce and up-to-date electronic systems to manage an influx of patients were key elements for the GPs to be considered.
"We're very confident all of our oversight meets those standards," Dr Hall said.
"One of the challenges we're dealing with is going to be logistics of [storing] that vaccine but also remembering that this is coinciding with the time of year we would normally do the flu vaccine as well.
"It's going to be a logistics issue to manage flu vaccine as well."
Dr Hall said many practices were looking at hiring a surge workforce if successful in partaking in stage 1b. Some clinics may also need to purchase more storage fridges.
"There's going to be a significant nursing component to rolling out the vaccine so practices that have more nurses will fare better," he said.
While making those upgrades could be costly, Dr Hall was confident government compensation through Medicare including after-hours and regional loading, would outweigh it.
"It's certainly not going to be a huge profit generating exercise for GP practices, but as it stands now we're comfortable it won't be a loss making exercise either," he said.
AMA ACT president Antonio Di Dio, says GPs administered 15 million flu injections last year. Vaccination rollouts have been almost entirely done by community and suburban GPs for more than 50 years because they have the knowledge and skill.
"They have the great advantage that not only have they done this their entire lives, but they also know the patients really well," Dr Di Dio said.
A family GP will know the issues with individual patients and can explain the side effects, benefits and pitfalls to get proper informed consent.
"We get an enormous amount of enjoyment and professional reward from seeing our patients for the flu shot," Dr Di Dio explained, because it presents opportunities for reconnecting with your patient and life-saving preventive health, such as checking blood pressure, cholesterol and overdue Pap tests and mammograms.
"Signing up to this process, in general, will cost GPs money and will be a challenging logistical thing for their staff, but it's something that we want to do simply because we want to be the one looking after our patients."
Patients have been asking for GPs for months about whether they'll be on the priority list, Dr Di Dio said. Clarity will come soon, for both doctors and patients, with more detail of the vaccines rollout strategy being released this week and the full list of participating clinics and centres shortly after.
Ochre Medical Centre Kippax medical coordinator Jo Crookes says the clinic is well-prepared to start administering the jab.
"We need to make this vaccine as available as much as possible ... and increase herd immunity as much as we can."
Dr Crookes echoed Dr Di Dio, explaining the clinic could help higher risk patients who couldn't go to a pharmacy, aided by their knowledge of individuals and their medical history.