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Doctor who gave four times the recommended Covid dose at aged-care centre previously sanctioned

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The doctor who gave two aged care residents four times the recommended dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this week was once sanctioned over cannabis prescriptions, it has been reported.

It has come to light that the same physician gave what was deemed to be ‘unacceptable medicinal cannabis prescriptions to patients’, The Australian has written. 

The doctor had conditions imposed on his medical licence by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency following complaints over his practice.

He was banned from possessing, supplying, prescribing or administering any natural or synthetic medicine cannabis products and was also required to be supervised at any practice who chose to engage in his professional services.

Following the rollout of the Covid vaccination this week, (pictured above) two major bungles happened 

The Covid vaccine (pictured above) is not mandatory, which fears many will avoid getting the jab

The Covid vaccine (pictured above) is not mandatory, which fears many will avoid getting the jab

The doctor was employed by Healthcare Australia, who have a contract to administer Covid-19 vaccinations in aged-care centres across NSW and Queensland.

‘The doctor involved in the nursing home incident (in Brisbane) is a registered medical practitioner on the APHRA register and there were no conditions of the doctor’s registration which prevented him ­administering vaccinations,’ a spokesperson for Healthcare Australia told The Australian.

‘The doctor is not ­actively working at Healthcare Australia.’

It was the first major bungle following the rollout of the vaccine this week, before on Friday 125 doses of Pfizer vaccine were thrown out at a Melbourne aged-care centre amid fears they had been refrigerated incorrectly.

Aspen Medical, who also have a contract to administer Covid-19 vaccines in aged-care centres, were ‘unsure’ if the 25 vials were kept at a safe temperature.  

‘While refrigeration was maintained, it was not possible to verify that temperature was maintained throughout,’ the department said.

‘Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, a medical decision was made not to use the remaining vials.’ 

Earlier this week, Healthcare Australia CEO Jason Cartwright stood down following the embarrassing mistake in Brisbane. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt blasted the company for initially telling him the doctor had done the online course on how to administer the jab.

When officials asked for proof, the allegedly company came clean and admitted he was untrained.

‘The thing that particularly upset us was the combination of somebody who was brought on untrained and then the clearly false information made despite repeated interrogation from the department,’ Minister Hunt said.

‘It was only uncovered late in the day after further investigation involving the Department demanding visual proof.’ 

Minister Hunt said the company breached its contract which would be terminated if any further breaches occurred.

The two elderly people given an incorrect dose of the Pfizer vaccine were residents at the Holy Spirit Nursing Home Carseldine in Brisbane (pictured)

The two elderly people given an incorrect dose of the Pfizer vaccine were residents at the Holy Spirit Nursing Home Carseldine in Brisbane (pictured)

Minister for Health Greg Hunt addressed the nation's vaccine rollout and bungle on Wednesday morning (pictured)

Minister for Health Greg Hunt addressed the nation’s vaccine rollout and bungle on Wednesday morning (pictured)

‘The company did not meet its requirements under its contract with the Australian Government Department of Health,’ he said.

Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck told The Today Show on Thursday that healthcare workers need to be ‘very, very vigilant’. 

‘For a mistake of this nature to occur is quite simply not acceptable,’ he said. 

‘I’d be really upset if my mum or dad were in a situation where they hadn’t received the correct dose.’

An ambulance is seen at the entry to the Holy Spirit Nursing Home in Brisbane on Wednesday after news broke that two residents were given an incorrect dose of the Covid vaccine

An ambulance is seen at the entry to the Holy Spirit Nursing Home in Brisbane on Wednesday after news broke that two residents were given an incorrect dose of the Covid vaccine

Minister Hunt has since apologised to the families of the elderly patients for the error. He also confirmed the doctor has been stood down by Healthcare Australia. 

It is not clear how the doctor got the dosing so wrong. One theory is that he gave two doses of the vaccine to each patient consecutively, instead of three weeks apart. 

Both aged care residents aren’t showing any adverse reactions to the jab.  

What will next happen in each state 

NSW

The Pfizer jab will be administered to 35,000 frontline workers in NSW over the next three weeks including those employed at quarantine hotels, people screening airport arrivals, health staff, cleaners, police and security.

All quarantine hotel workers in NSW – about 6500 people per week – will be included in the initial rollout of the jab.

Victoria 

Victoria’s first 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived on Sunday at Monash Hospital in Clayton.

The roll-out begins last Monday morning, with high-risk frontline health staff first in the queue.

Other recipients in line to receive the jab include hotel quarantine, airport and port workers, as well as aged care staff and residents.

The federal government is expected to allocate 59,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to Victoria over the first four weeks of the program.

South Australia

The southern state will receive weekly deliveries of vaccines, with plans to inoculate 12,000 people in the first three weeks.

Queensland  

More than 1000 hotel and health workers will be jabbed this week

Western Australia 

More than 290 hotel quarantine staff and medical professionals are expected to receive the Pfizer BioNTech jab.

3392 invitations sent to workers who qualify for Phase 1a

WA’s 2500 hotel quarantine workers, 2500 Perth Airport staff and 170 Fremantle Port employees have been prioritised to get the jab first, with at least 556 currently booked in to get it next week.

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