Thursday, July 15, 2021

Provide Online Informed Consent for COVID-19 Vaccination

The ABS reports that only 73% of Australians would get a COVID-19 vaccination. Of the others, 52% were worried about side-effects and 15% effectiveness. In response, I suggest that Australia's National Cabinet approve the use of online informed consent using multimedia in multiple languages, to streamline COVID-19 vaccination, using any of the vaccines approved for use in Australia for any adult of any age.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has advised

"... AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in adults aged under 60 years where the benefits clearly outweigh the risk for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits".


"Noting the current constrained supply of the Pfizer vaccine, ATAGI also recommends adults under the age of 60 who do not have immediate access to the Pfizer vaccine should consider the benefits and risks of earlier protection through the AstraZeneca vaccine. "

However, that advice has been implemented in a way which makes it very difficult for anyone who does not have a GP with supplies of AstraZeneca, from being vaccinated. 

The Australian Government provides a document "Weighing up the potential benefits against risk of harm from COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca" to assist with informed consent. But, this is intended for doctors to help explain to patients. As a result those who don't have a GP to explain it to them cannot give informed consent and so cannot be vaccinated at mass vaccination center. 

I suggest National Cabinet decide that a standard audio-visual package in multiple languages be prepared. This would be added to online booking systems, allowing any adult to give informed consent to an AstraZeneca vaccination online. Any adult should be able to walk into any vaccination center at the booked time, show ID and be vaccinated immediately, without the need to speak to anyone, or fill in any paperwork.

Individuals would still have to option to visit their doctor to discuss vaccination. However, I suggest our leaders now need to ask every Australian to accept that the risk, in the interests of their family and the community to get vaccinated now.

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