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ADF rolls in to help vaccine roll out

Members of the Australian Defence Force are patrolling the streets of Bourke with local police officers. Sgt Sally Hatch on right. PHOTO TWH

Members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) arrived in Bourke earlier this week to support the work of the Western NSW Local Health District’s pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinic.

The ADF will help with the vaccine roll out in 33 communities over 23 days, giving thousands of residents the chance to get vaccinated.

The mass vaccination program is on a scale that would not have been possible just a few weeks ago and is a sign of just how serious a threat the Delta strain poses to regional communities.

Chief Executive of the Western NSW Local Health District, Scott McLachlan, said the operation would see five mobile teams operating, involving at least 72 ADF personnel, supported by healthcare workers, including Aboriginal health workers.

“Over a three-week period, the mobile teams will spend between one and five days in each location, offering free Covid-19 vaccinations,” Mr MacLachlan said.

“At the end of that initial three weeks, the teams will go back again to deliver the second dose. Both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines will be available, depending on each person’s eligibility.

“On an average day we expect that the mobile service will be able to offer up to 300 vaccinations.

“We’ve seen the Delta strain of Covid-19 attack our communities and while the current lockdown should help, getting vaccinated is clearly our best weapon.

“Covid-19 is incredibly easy to spread and can make even healthy people very sick. If we have too many people getting sick from Covid it’s going to get in the way of our hospitals and health services taking care of everyone – whether they have Covid or need treatment for something else.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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