News / Community / 24th March 2021
COVID vaccinations underway
Some Coonabarabran residents will be among the first in Australia to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Western NSW Primary Health Network began Phase 1b of the Commonwealth Government’s vaccination rollout on Tuesday, 23 March.
Coonabarabran Medical Centre was one of 13 clinics from across the region selected to provide injections during the first week of Phase 1b.
Staff who began the rollout of the vaccine earlier this week will provide injections to a portion of the community.
Clinic owner, Doctor Abul Salim emphasised that receiving the vaccine was not as simple as the normal influenza vaccine.
“It’s a bit of a process - it’s more involved than just the flu shot,” he said.
“There’s a few pages of paperwork to complete and once the shot is given, depending on the individual, they need to be monitored for 15-30 minutes.”
For people who were not patients of the clinic, but fit the eligibility criteria to receive the jab, practice manager Caron Harris said it was important they brought along a health summary from their regular general practitioner.
She also said emergency services and frontline workers were required to provide identification.
“Patients receiving the vaccination will need to wait 12 weeks until receiving the second and final shot and it is another two weeks until the patient reaches the peak immunity,” Mrs Harris said
“The vaccine doesn’t stop COVID, it limits its effects and helps keep patients from having to go into ICU.”
Due to limitations of the imported vaccine, clinics will be restricted to providing appointments and will receive deliveries on a weekly basis.
The Coonabarabran Medical Centre received enough vaccine to provide 80 injections for the initial week.
Stock levels are expected to improve toward the end of the month and into April. Until then, the NSW Primary Health Network urged residents to be patient.
“Residents of the region can rest assured that as more practices become involved during the first four weeks of Phase 1b, that there will be ample opportunity for everyone eligible in the Phase to be vaccinated in a timely manner,” the spokesperson said.
“We ask that the public be patient and over the coming weeks - vaccine stock will increase, as will the number of GPs receiving the vaccine.”
Dr Ai-Vee Chua, general practitioner and Rural Clinical Lead for NSW Health’s COVID-19 Primary Care Community of Practice, reminds people to not panic about booking in for their COVID-19 vaccinations.
“The Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and have passed the rigorous TGA approval processes to be made available in Australia,” Dr Chua said.
“It will be a good thing for our vulnerable populations to have their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination sometime in the next few months.”