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Delta outbreak helping boost vaccination numbers

Friday 6 August 2021

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Central West residents are turning out in numbers to be vaccinated in the wake of the growing Queensland outbreak of the COVID–19 Delta variant.

“The continuing South-east Queensland outbreak and the recent incident involving a COVID positive flight attendant on a Brisbane-Longreach flight have really served to focus people’s minds,’’ Central West Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Medical Services Dr David Walker said.

“Our vaccination rates in the Central West have been tracking very well compared to the statewide and national rates and they continue to build as our communities realise the COVID-19 virus is not just something that is happening far away.

“With the new Delta variant, the risks of widespread transmission are very real and our relative isolation here in the outback is no protection.

“Being fully vaccinated offers the highest level of protection, both against being infected and in helping minimise the seriousness of any illness if you do become infected.’’

Dr Walker said 890 people turned out to be vaccinated at AstraZeneca and Pfizer clinics at Longreach this week.

“This was an excellent turnout and shows Central West residents are really recognising that a very high-level of community vaccination is the only way back to some degree of normality in our lives,’’ he said.

Dr Walker said about 54.3 per cent of all eligible Central West residents now were FULLY vaccinated with both first and second doses of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

“And we now have about 66.4 per cent of all eligible Central West residents who have received at least a first dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine,’’ he said.

“In Longreach alone, we now have 66 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated and 79 per cent who have had at least one dose of vaccine.

“Our most highly vaccinated community is Jundah, with 70 per cent of the population fully vaccinated and 83 per cent who have received at least one dose.

“Alpha is also doing well, with 67 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated and 79 per cent having received at least one dose.

“Together with partners the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Western Queensland Primary Health Network, the Central West Hospital and Health Service now has delivered more than 10,600 doses of vaccine across the region.

“Indeed, we celebrated our 10,000th vaccination at our Longreach Pfizer clinic on Tuesday when Longreach resident Jason Griffiths was vaccinated, and this was a real landmark occasion.

“A huge shout out to all Central West Queensland residents like Jason, and visitors to our area as well. You have helped to keep us safe.’’

Mr Griffiths said he was keen to step forward for vaccination primarily to look after family and friends.

“It’s important for me to do everything I can to help stop the spread of this virus through our own small community,” he said.
“This includes minimising my own risk of contracting it.’’

Central West Hospital and Health Board Chair Jane Williams also received her second dose of vaccine at Longreach this week.
Ms Williams said the entire Central West Health Board would be fully vaccinated by Monday.

“It’s vitally important in our roles as community health leaders that we show an example to the community,’’ Ms Williams said.

“Being fully vaccinated gives me that added layer of safety in my everyday life and of course for my family, friends and community and the same applies for all my fellow board members.’’

Dr Walker said he wanted to acknowledge the contributions from Queensland Ambulance Service and all Central West local government authority teams in the region who had been essential to the continuing success of the vaccination program.

“We sincerely thank everyone for their collaboration, their compassion and their hard work!’’ he said.

“While no vaccine is 100 per cent effective, current evidence shows that people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine have a much lower chance of developing more serious symptoms from the virus, compared to those who did not get the vaccine.

“And remember, I cannot emphasise enough that once you have had a first dose of vaccine, you must not neglect to have your second dose.

“You must have two doses of the same vaccine for maximal effective protection, so please make sure you have both – whether that’s two doses of AstraZeneca or two doses of Pfizer.’’ Pfizer first and second doses should be administered between 3 and 6 weeks apart.

Under current national guidelines, mixing vaccines is not recommended, so people who have had a first dose of AstraZeneca must have AstraZeneca as their second dose, not Pfizer.

The Pfizer vaccine is now recommended for pregnant woman, so pregnant women are encouraged to come forward and receive the vaccine so they and their unborn child can be protected from COVID-19.

Upcoming AstraZeneca catch-up clinics:

  • Winton: Thursday 12 August, at the Winton Hospital.

Upcoming Pfizer clinics, first and second doses:

  • Blackall: 9-10 August (phone the Longreach call centre on 1800 953 703) – includes Tambo and
    Isisford communities
  • Windorah: 10 August (RFDS clinic - please book at the Windorah PHC 4565 6100)
  • Stonehenge: 11 August (RFDS clinic - please book at the RFDS Charleville Base 4654 1233)
  • Yaraka: 11 August (RFDS clinic - please book at the RFDS Charleville Base 4654 1233)
  • Jundah: 17 August (RFDS clinic - please book at the RFDS Charleville Base 4654 1233)
  • Barcaldine: 17 August (phone the Longreach call centre on 1800 953 703) – includes Alpha,
    Jericho, Aramac and Muttaburra communities
  • Birdsville: 18 August (RFDS clinic - please book at the Birdsville PHC 4656 3245)
  • Longreach: 24 August (phone the Longreach call centre on 1800 953 703) – includes Muttaburra and Isisford communities
  • Winton: 25-26 August (phone the Longreach call centre on 1800 953 703)

Contacts and for further information:

ENDS

PHOTO CAPTIONS

  • Longreach resident Justin Griffiths was immunised by nurse Anne Strachan on Tuesday and was the recipient of the 10,000th dose of a COVID-19 vaccine delivered in the Central West region.
  • Central West Hospital and Health Board Chair Jane Williams received her second dose of vaccine at Longreach this week from paramedic Lauren Hamm.

For further information contact:

James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379

Jim.Guthrie@health.qld.gov.au

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Last updated: 9 August 2021