HISTORY: First ever COVID-19 vaccine in the southwest
Exactly one year on since the nation was gripped in the hands of an unfolding global pandemic, mass job losses and sent into lockdowns the first COVID—19 vaccine has been rolled out in southwest Queensland.
A “soft” launch of the vaccine took place at the Roma Hospital on Thursday, March 18 before getting underway in earnest from March 22.
Robyn Brumpton, the South West Hospital and Health Service COVID Vaccination Coordinator said the rollout would focus on Roma to begin with, before progressively spreading across the Maranoa.
“Initially, we will be vaccinating frontline health and emergency service workers throughout our region, in line with the Commonwealth Government’s phased rollout guidelines,’’ Ms Brumpton.
“Once this cohort has been vaccinated, we will then begin vaccinating the broader community in each location.
“Vaccinations for the broader community will be available through our health service and through private general practices that have been accredited by the Commonwealth to deliver the vaccine.
“Once we complete the rollout of vaccinations to frontline health and emergency service workers, we will begin advising our communities when the vaccination team will be in their town to undertake vaccinations for the general population.
“For private GPs, southwest residents should visit the federal government’s COVID vaccine eligibility website to see when they can start receiving the vaccine and from which accredited GP near them it will be available.’’
Ms Brumpton said the government started vaccinating aged care residents and aged care facility staff throughout the region under its national aged care vaccination program.
“Vaccination teams from the Commonwealth’s contracted vaccination provider have started vaccinating staff and residents at the Waroona Multipurpose Centre in Charleville, as well as at Cunnamulla and the Augathella, Mungindi and Dirranbandi multipurpose health services earlier this week,’’ she said.
“They are also due to visit Quilpie, Surat, Injune and Mitchell multipurpose health services this week, but this will depend on how localised flooding is affecting road conditions.
“It’s very exciting to be joining what is Queensland’s largest ever co-ordinated vaccination effort.
“Being vaccinated is one of the easiest things we can all do to keep our communities and loved ones safe and I urge everyone to do so.’’
Ms Brumpton said everyone in southwest Queensland communities who was eligible and 18 years and over would have access to free, safe, effective COVID – 19 vaccine.
“The vaccine will be delivered by trained immunisation teams who will visit all southwest communities in a scheduled rotation to deliver the two doses required,’’ she said.
“All communities in the region will have access to the vaccine and we will keep all our communities informed about vaccination clinic locations and times.
“I strongly encourage everyone to keep up social distancing, good hand hygiene and take up the offer of the vaccine once it becomes available to you.”
Check if you are eligible and can book a COVID vaccination at a GP near you:
More information on the vaccine is available online:www.qld.gov.au/covid19vaccine
You can also call 134 COVID (134 268) and visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/covid-19-vaccine