AVA lobbies for prioritisation of veterinary professionals in the COVID-19 vaccination roll out

12 Aug 2021

The AVA will be lobbying for veterinarians, veterinary staff and veterinary students to be prioritised in the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccinations. This decision follows an overwhelming response from the membership, in an AVA survey conducted last week. 

“We had over 1,200 responses from members on this in a matter of days,” said Dr Cristy Secombe, Head of Public and Veterinary Affairs with the AVA. 

“With 89% of respondents indicating that they feel veterinarians should be prioritised for the vaccination, this is a clear message from our membership.”  

“The AVA is writing to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), along with the Commonwealth Government and State and Territory governments, calling on veterinary staff to be added to the priority vaccination lists,” said Dr Secombe. 

Survey respondents were spread across Australia, with 64% based in metropolitan areas. A higher response rate was seen from NSW, Victoria, and Queensland. Of those who responded, 43% indicated that they have already been vaccinated. This, coupled with comments made by respondents, indicates that veterinarians are particularly concerned about their younger colleagues and staff - 88% believed the vaccine prioritisation should also extend to veterinary nurses and other veterinary clinic staff. 

While veterinarians and their staff recognise that clinics have better infection control awareness and procedures than many other public facing essential services, they remain concerned that they and their staff are at significant risk. With lockdowns an increasingly common feature of the Australian COVID-19 response, our community relies on veterinary services remaining open during these periods to ensure that the health and welfare needs of our animals are met. The AVA believes it is important that the community also ensures that those working in these services are protected. 

Where to go to find out if you are currently eligible for a vaccine 

Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination varies across the country. To check your eligibility and to book appointments, visit the relevant COVID-19 vaccination website for your state or territory: