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The over-70 per cents an example to others

Image ofKubin residents Louis Warria and Clara Lui turned up to be vaccinated and their children Lui-Warria and Sepoima Warria came along also.

8 October 2021

Two communities in the Torres Strait and on Cape York are now past the 70 per cent double vaccinated mark, with several others chasing close behind.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Acting Chief Executive Dean Davidson said he wanted to commend the communities of Pormpuraaw on Cape York and the Kubin community on Moa Island in the Torres Strait for achieving this milestone.

“At Pormpuraaw, more than 77 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 years and over is now fully vaccinated with two doses of a COVID–19 vaccine, while the fully vaccinated percentage at Kubin this week also hit 71 per cent for the 12 year and overs,’’ he said.

“A little further back, seven other communities – all in the Torres Strait – are closing in on the 70 per cent fully vaccinated mark.

“These are Mer (67 per cent), Iama (67 per cent), Boigu (65 per cent), Masig (65 per cent) and Dauan (64 per cent) islands, along with the St Paul’s community on Moa Island (63 per cent) and Thursday Island (61 per cent).

“In the Northern Peninsula Area, our most highly vaccinated community is Seisia with 57 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over now fully vaccinated.

“On Cape York, the next closest communities to Pormpuraaw’s vaccination rate are Weipa at about 55 per cent fully vaccinated for the over 12s, and Lockhart River at 51 per cent,

“Our vaccination data only includes health service-delivered vaccinations and not those delivered through other agencies, such as GPs and pharmacies, so the overall vaccination rates in larger communities like Weipa and Cooktown are likely to be higher.

“All these communities have all done a great job over the past few months in turning out to be vaccinated on the occasions our immunisation teams have visited them and I commend them.

“But some are not doing as well.

“Remember, it’s not a question of if but when the Delta or other even more contagious variants of COVID–19 take hold in the state once borders begin to open.

“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.

“Having the vaccine is your choice. It's safe, free and remains the best way to protect yourself, your family, and our community from serious illness.

“Combined with COVID-safe behaviours like social distancing, vaccines are our pathway out of this pandemic and give us the best chance of keeping our communities and businesses open and doing more of the things we enjoy.

“We still have many opportunities for Torres Strait, Cape York and Northern Peninsula Area residents to be vaccinated over the next six week and I encourage everyone to do so.

“Our overall immunisation goal remains the national target of 80 per cent of the eligible population being fully vaccinated.

“Many of our communities remain a long way short of this and we encourage them, if they have any concerns about the COVID–19 vaccine, to discuss these with our immunisation teams or their local hospital or primary healthcare centre.’’

Mr Davidson said immunisation clinics had been delivered this week at Cooktown, as well as at Warraber (Sue), Masig (Yorke), Poruma (Coconut) and Iama (Yam) islands and at the St Paul’s and Kubin communities on Moa Island.

A special immunisation clinic also was held for students and teachers at the Tagai State College on Thursday Island, where a total of 74 people was vaccinated.

“Since our vaccination rollout started in mid-March, our immunisation teams have delivered about 20,000 doses of vaccine across our region, including 10,000 doses in just the past six weeks,’’ Mr Davidson said.

“This has been a phenomenal effort across a diverse region, and I’d like to give a big shout-out to our vaccination teams – from our nurses, to our admin team, operational team, and infrastructure team – for the work they have been doing.’’

Following this week’s vaccination clinics, Cape York has seen 55 per cent of the total estimated eligible population aged 12 years and over receive their first dose of vaccine through the Torres and Cape HHS vaccination program alone, with 33 per cent now fully vaccinated.

In the Torres Strait, 72 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 years and over has now received a first dose of vaccine through the health service and 56 per cent of people are fully vaccinated with both doses.

In the Northern Peninsula area, 53 per cent of the eligible population has received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination so far, with 40 per cent fully vaccinated.

“Next week, from 11–16 October, we will be returning to Hope Vale, Aurukun and Weipa for catch-up clinics,’’ Mr Davidson said.

“That same week, as part of their regular weekly visiting clinic, the Royal Flying Doctor Service also will be offering vaccinations at Lockhart River, Coen, Pormpuraaw and Kowanyama.

“Then, from 18–22 October, the health service will deliver catch-up clinics at Mapoon and Napranum, along with second dose clinics at Wujal Wujal, Cooktown and Laura.

“That same week, the RFDS will continue delivering vaccinations at its clinics at Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw.

“So, if you are in those communities, come and get vaccinated.’’

Mr Davidson said the Torres and Cape HHS vaccination program had been extended into mid- November to offer communities more opportunities to be vaccinated.

“We scheduled an additional 23 catch-up clinics as part of an already comprehensive vaccination program involving multiple travelling vaccination teams that have been criss- crossing the region since March and visiting each community,’’ he said.

He said all Torres Strait, Cape York and NPA residents could check the ongoing vaccination rollout schedule on the health service’s website.

“If there is another clinic planned for your community you can book an appointment by calling (07)  3497 3442. But you are also welcome to walk in,’’ he said.

“If there isn’t another clinic scheduled for you community you can register your interest in being vaccinated by visiting and completing the online form.

“You can also call us on (07) 3497 3442 or speak to your local health facility, so we can arrange a vaccination.

“As the vaccine rollout continues and more people are vaccinated, we continually assess the best ways to reach people yet to be vaccinated.’’

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: Kubin residents Louis Warria and Clara Lui turned up to be vaccinated and their children Lui-Warria and Sepoima Warria came along also.

Last updated: 8 October 2021