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Pormpuraaw closes in on the 80 per cent fully vaxxed mark

Image of Pormpuraaw resident Alex Lowdon is vaccinated by Royal Flying Doctor Service immunisation nurse Leanna Murray at the community clinic this week.

17 September 2021

The Cape York township of Pormpuraaw is now the closest Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service community to the national 80 per cent fully vaccinated target.

Just over 77 per cent of the current estimated eligible population in Pormpuraaw aged 12 years and over has now received two doses of Pfizer vaccine.

However, Torres and Cape HHS Chief Executive Bev Hamerton said the actual percentage may end up being much higher than 80 per cent.

“I understand that a number of people in the community may no longer be there, so the eligible population numbers we have been using will need to be revised,’’ she said.

“We will be reviewing these in the coming days and, once the population numbers are adjusted, the actual percentage of fully vaccinated people may be much higher than 80 per cent.

“Whatever the case, the turnout at Pormpuraaw has been magnificent.

“I want to thank the community and its leaders for getting behind the vaccination program so solidly and achieving this incredible result. Very well done to you all.’’

Ms Hamerton said several communities in the Torres Strait also were highly vaccinated and expected to come close to or surpass the 80 per cent fully vaccinated mark when catch-up clinics returned to the region later this month and into October.

Other Cape York communities, like Lockhart River, also are likely to come close to or surpass the 80 per cent fully vaccinated class in the coming weeks as vaccinations continue.

Ms Hamerton said, as well as thanking community residents for turning up to the rolling vaccination clinics, she wanted to thank health service partner the Royal Flying Doctor Service for its strong support in helping deliver the clinics across parts of Cape York.

“They have been a real help to us,’’ she said.

Ms Hamerton said 1840 doses of vaccine had been delivered this week at a first dose clinic at Hope Vale and second dose clinics at Pormpuraaw, Weipa and Aurukun.

“We now have 64 per cent of the Weipa estimated eligible population who have received at least one dose of vaccine and 46 per cent who are fully vaccinated through our health service clinics,’’ she said.

“However, at Weipa, these percentages do not include those residents who have been vaccinated through the local GP or pharmacies, so the actual percentages may be higher.

“At Aurukun, 40 per cent of the estimated eligible population aged 12 years and over has received at least one dose of vaccine and 19 per cent are fully vaccinated.

“This week’s vaccination clinic at Hope Vale was a first dose clinic and, so far, 35 per cent of the eligible population has received their first dose.’’

As the vaccination program continues to roll out across Cape York, Ms Hamerton said she wanted to encourage Cooktown residents to book for the upcoming COVID–19 vaccination clinics in the town.

She said 374 people had booked so far for the first week of the clinic at Cooktown, starting from 27 September.

“We can accommodate up to 1000 people in that first week, so there are plenty of free slots available,’’ she said.

“For Cooktown, as with all our vaccination clinics, including catch-up clinics, you can book in by phoning (07) 3497 3442 – but please also feel free to just walk in.

“We understand that many Cooktown residents may have already been vaccinated through the local GP practice.

“But if you haven’t yet been vaccinated, please take the opportunity to do so when the vaccination team is in Cooktown from 27 September to 8 October to deliver the first dose of Pfizer vaccine to residents. We will then return from 18–29 October to deliver the second dose.’’

Ms Hamerton said as a lead-up to the main Cooktown vaccination clinic from 27 September, a special walk-in clinic would be held tomorrow (Saturday, 18 Sept) from 9 am to 2 pm at the Cooktown Community Health Building in Hope St.

“Walk-ins are welcome at this clinic with no booking required,’’ she said.

“The special clinic provides another opportunity for people to get vaccinated in addition to our ongoing and extensive immunisation program across the region.’’

Ms Hamerton said, this week, the first dose of Pfizer vaccine was delivered at Hope Vale, while second dose clinics were held at Pormpuraaw, Aurukun and Weipa.

Next week, the first dose of Pfizer vaccine will be delivered to the Wujal Wujal and Laura communities and second dose clinics will continue at Weipa, as well as Mapoon and Napranum.

“However, if you missed out on your first dose during our previous visits to Mapoon and Napranum, as well as during first dose clinics at Weipa, you can still come to the second dose clinic and receive your first dose,’’ Ms Hamerton said.

Ms Hamerton said the health service’s vaccination program on Cape York was progressing well.

“So far, Cape York has seen 47 per cent of the total estimated eligible population receive their first dose of vaccine, with 28 per cent now fully vaccinated,’’ she said.

“These number are expected to increase dramatically as our vaccination clinics progress across the region, including planned catch-up clinics for those who missed out when our immunisation teams previously were in their communities.

“In the Northern Peninsula area 52 per cent of the eligible population have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination so far with 35 per cent fully vaccinated. Once again, these numbers will increase as our teams return to undertake catch-up clinics in the region.

“In the Torres Strait, 67 per cent of the eligible population have now received their first dose of vaccine, and 52 per cent of people are now fully vaccinated.

“Our vaccination teams will return to the Torres Strait from late September and through October to deliver catch-up clinics for residents who did not attend our previous clinics.

“The first of these catch-up clinics will be held on Ugar (Stephen) Island on 21 September, Erub (Darnley) Island on 22 September, and Thursday Island on 24 September.

“We will also be doing catch-up clinics on Cape York and the Northern Peninsula Area throughout October and into mid-November.

“The dates and locations of all clinics, including catch-up clinics, are available on our website.

“So, if we have been to your community already and you missed out on your first or second dose of vaccine, don’t worry, there’s still things you can do.

“First, check the rollout schedule on our website. If there is another clinic planned for your community you can book an appointment by calling (07) 3497 3442.

“If there isn’t another clinic scheduled for you community you can register your interest by visiting health.qld.gov.au/torres-cape and completing the online form.

“Alternatively, you can let us know by calling (07) 3497 3442 or speak to your local health facility.’’

Please note: the addition of the 12-15-year cohort into eligible population figures has resulted in small changes to uptake percentages compared to previous reports.

PHOTO CAPTION: Pormpuraaw resident Alex Lowdon is vaccinated by Royal Flying Doctor Service immunisation nurse Leanna Murray at the community clinic this week.

Last updated: 17 September 2021