THE COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Cairns’ Hinterland, with Atherton the first rural site to roll out the vaccine for its frontline health workers.
Just three weeks after Cairns Hospital started vaccinating staff with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Atherton Hospital began rolling out the AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is much easier to implement more broadly for Queenslanders and can move beyond Cairns as it is not required to be stored in a specialised deep freezer.
Among the first people to be vaccinated were Atherton Hospital clinical nurse consultant Rachel Bernays and medical superintendent Dr Craig Fairley.
Tracey Morgan, Executive Director Rural and Remote Services, said the vaccine would be rolled out to frontline health workers in Innisfail Hospital next week, and then Mossman and Mareeba hospitals over the next few weeks.
“Throughout the vaccination rollout, we will be offering vaccination to both health care staff and community members at each remote location,” Ms Morgan said.
“We’ve got our processes and systems ready for this vaccine, and our staff will be lining up for the vaccination and showing leadership for their communities to follow suit.’’
She said the vaccine would be delivered by trained immunisation teams at each site.
Atherton Hospital Acting Director of Nursing, Kelly Pollock said she was proud that the facility is the first in the Cairns and Hinterland region to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
“Worldwide, we have seen first-hand how much of a difference vaccination against infectious diseases can make to keeping people safe and healthy,’’ she said.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is free, safe, effective and is an important step to take to reduce the serious effects of COVID-19 in people who become infected with the virus.
“Immunisation not only protects your own family, but also others by helping to control serious diseases in our community.
“This vaccine effort is the greatest in global history and we only need to look overseas to see the impact COVID-19 is having.
“It is important to continue to protect yourself and other by washing your hands often, practising physical distancing, staying home if you are sick and getting tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine will be delivered to community members during the second phase of the COVID-19 National Vaccination Rollout Strategy.
For information on how to prepare for your vaccination and what to expect, visit http://www.qld.gov.au/COVI19vaccine