Finding a vaccine that protects the whole community is just the first hurdle in a long list of complex logistical, ethical and practical challenges to overcome to safely and effectively immunise Australia against COVID-19.
The successful rollout of a nationwide program will require a multidisciplinary, equitable and community-engaged approach and Australia’s health practitioners will be front and centre to this response.
This special Q&A event, held in December 2020, included expert panelists discussing the unprecedented task ahead and the challenges to delivery that need to be addressed in the face of uncertainty of information, significant workforce training needs and rising vaccine hesitancy.
The Q&A session was Chaired by Professor Nancy Baxter, Head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, with special guest panelists:
- Professor Jodie McVernon: Professor and Director of Doherty Epidemiology, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
- Ms Sonja Elia: Immunisation Nurse Practitioner
- Dr Rosalind McDougall: Senior Lecturer in Health Ethics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
- Dr Magdalena Simonis: Practising GP, RACGP Expert Committee Quality Care, DGP Hon Senior Lecturer, GP Opinion leader, AFMW President
- Professor Allen Cheng: Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology Unit, Alfred Health; Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University
Magdalena is the President of the AFMW (2020-) and former President of VMWS (2013 & 2017-2020).
Magdalena’s deep engagements with the RACGP over many years includes chair of Women in General Practice, is currently on the RACGP Expert Committee Quality Care, prior to that on RACGP eHealth Expert Committee. She is a regular media spokesperson on numerous health issues, being interviewed most weeks by mainstream and medical media. Magdalena has represented the RACGP at senate enquiries and has worked on several National Health Framework reviews.
Both an RACGP examiner and University examiner she supervises medical students and undertakes general practice research. Roles outside of RACGP include the Strategy and Policy Committee for Breast Cancer Network Australia, Board Director of Women’s Health Victoria and Chair of their Strategy and Policy subcommittee and the AMA Victoria GP Network Committee.
Magdalena has presented at the United Nations as part of the Australian Assembly and was recently appointed the Australian representative to the World Health Organisation, World Assembly on COVID 19, by the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA).