The Australian Government is getting on with the job of rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to regional, remote and rural Australia, with almost 500 facilities in New South Wales signed up to administer the vaccine.
Federal Regional Health Minister and Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton today visited a clinic in Gunnedah, NSW where the rollout is underway.
“I’m pleased to be at Barber Street Practice in Gunnedah to visit one of the many GP clinics across rural Australia which has signed up to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations,” Minister Coulton said.
“Everyone, no matter where they live in Australia, will be offered a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is free and the consult appointment for patients to receive their vaccinations is also free.”
The Government has established almost 1,500 primary care vaccination sites in rural Australia to administer vaccines under phase 1b to support Australians living in rural, regional and remote communities.
“Although cases of the virus have remained low in rural Australia, the Government’s targeted COVID-19 vaccine program will keep communities, like Gunnedah, safe,” Minister Coulton said.
“GP clinics, like this, provide a great service to their local community, as do all doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals living and working in country Australia.
“I’m pleased to see so many people in rural, regional and remote Australia continue to be eager to get the jab when it’s their turn.”
The COVID-19 vaccination program is one of the largest logistical exercises in Australia’s history – protecting the lives of millions of people across the country.
The Government is working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services, general practices, state and territory governments, Primary Health Networks, General Practitioner-led Respiratory Clinics and community pharmacies, to ensure that everyone living outside our major cities has access to COVID-19 vaccinations if they choose to.
Recent updated advice from the vaccine expert taskforce, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation to the Government is that the risk of a very specific blood clotting side effect from the AstraZeneca vaccine is four to six in one million people.
This is a rare, but serious side effect of this particular vaccine so on that basis the recommendation is that it is preferred that the Pfizer vaccine be provided to adults under the age of 50.
The Government is working through this implication with the states and territories as an urgent priority.
Minister Coulton said it was important to note the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine remains highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who have contracted COVID-19—and the incidence of this blood-clotting syndrome is very rare.
For more information about the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy, visit health.gov.au.