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Councils getting behind vaccination program

Mapoon resident Dosia Warria was happy to be vaccinated during a vaccination clinic in his community this week

12 November 2021

Local government authorities are providing strong support for the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service COVID–19 vaccination rollout across the region.

“For example, both the Aurukun Shire Council and the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council are making strong use of social media to support the vaccination program and encourage residents to be vaccinated,’’ Torres and Cape HHS Chief Executive Bev Hamerton said.

“I’d like to commend the Aurukun and NPA councils and their mayors for their support of the vaccination program and their ongoing commitment to ensuring the health and safety of their communities.

“We’ve had similar strong support from other councils throughout the Cape York region, including Pormpuraaw, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Cook shire and Wujal Wujal, as well as from mayors and councillors in the Torres Strait.

“We are aware that across the region there has been a lot of misinformation about the vaccine and some people seem too worried about what the vaccine might do to them and not what the COVID–19 virus will do to them.

“Remember, if you’ve heard something about vaccination that concerns you, or want more information, please talk to your doctor, visit your local primary healthcare centre, or talk to our vaccination teams when we’re in your community.

“We want people to understand just how dangerous this virus is and the impact it can have on their communities.

“For instance, latest reports indicate that in the recent COVID–19 outbreak in Moree, in New South Wales, 98 per cent of active cases have been Aboriginal and the overwhelming majority have been unvaccinated.

“So, it’s great to see local councils and community leaders across our region speaking up and supporting the vaccination program and encouraging their communities to be vaccinated and stay safe.

“But we also need all local residents to heed these messages from their leaders, their Elders and from the health service and come along to our vaccination clinics and be vaccinated.

“Here in the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service region, we have amongst the highest childhood vaccination rates in the state.

“So, it’s clear that most people have no hesitation about being vaccinated for measles, chicken pox, diphtheria, tetanus and a host of other common diseases.

“And most people have no problem being vaccinated each year against influenza – so why be hesitant about having the COVID–19 vaccine that could save your life and your family members’ lives?

“Please, heed the advice of your leaders, your Elders, your fellow community members and health experts and come and be vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Also remember that if you remain unvaccinated, or just partially vaccinated, you will be subject to significant additional restrictions on your activities that will not apply to the fully vaccinated.

“We have plenty of clinics available right through November and December and plenty of opportunities to be vaccinated and stay safe.’’

Ms Hamerton said Torres Strait, Cape York and NPA residents could check the ongoing vaccination clinic rollout schedule on the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service website.

“If there are no upcoming clinics in your area, all you have to do is go on the health service website and fill in a form to register your interest in being vaccinated and a vaccination will be arranged for you,’’ she said.

“You can also call us on (07) 3497 3442 or speak to your local health facility to arrange.’’

Ms Hamerton said last week, the health service delivered vaccination clinics at Thursday Island,

Hope Vale and Erub (Darnley) Island, as well as an extra clinic at Aurukun, which included door-to-door visits in that community.

In addition, the Royal Flying Doctor Service also offered vaccinations during their visiting medical clinics this week at Coen, Lockhart River and Kowanyama.

This week, the health service has been delivering walk-in clinics at Aurukun, Wujal Wujal, Mapoon, Umagico, Kowanyama, Injinoo, Napranum, New Mapoon, Laura and Seisia.

“The RFDS also continued offering vaccinations during their visiting clinics at Coen, Lockhart River, Pormpuraaw and Kowanyama,’’ Ms Hamerton said.

“Next week, from 15 November, the health service will be offering clinics at Cooktown, Aurukun, Bamaga, Coen, Lockhart River, Napranum, Weipa and Saibai, Boigu and Dauan islands.

“And the RFDS will be offering vaccinations during their visiting clinics at Lockhart River, Pormpuraaw  and  Kowanyama.

“So, come and get vaccinated.’’

To date in the Torres Strait, 71 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 years and over has received a first dose of vaccine through the health service and 58 per cent of people are fully vaccinated with both doses.

Cape York has 58 per cent of the total estimated eligible population aged 12 years and over who have received their first dose of vaccine through the Torres and Cape HHS vaccination program alone, with 47 per cent now fully vaccinated.

In the Northern Peninsula Area, 48 per cent of the eligible population has received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination so far, with 38 per cent fully vaccinated.

Across the Torres and Cape HHS as a whole, about 50 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 years and over is now fully vaccinated with two doses of vaccine.

NOTE: percentages quoted above relate to vaccinations delivered by the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service only and do not include vaccinations delivered separately through other providers and external agencies. As a result, overall total regional vaccination rates will likely be higher.

PHOTO CAPTION: Mapoon resident Dosia Warria was happy to be vaccinated during a vaccination clinic in his community this week.

Last updated: 12 November 2021