Locals urged to get COVID vaccine
Residents of Bourke and Brewarrina Shires are being urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu with more vaccine clinics due to open in coming weeks.
Ochre Health Operations Manager Damian Pennyfield said there had only been an 11 per cent rate of uptake for COVID vaccinations among eligible community members, but he said he was hopeful that rate would increase.
“We are currently providing clinics with the AstraZeneca vaccine, not Pfizer, but that may change,” Mr Pennyfield said.
“Between flu and COVID vaccinations we have had just under 200 people in Bourke come into the clinic, which is 11 per cent of eligible people.
“We will be opening more sessions in the next two weeks and then seven more clinics in the next three to four weeks which is fantastic.
“The uptake has been relatively slow and there is some consensus that there is not a lot of interest in the 40-60 age group, but after Victoria’s recent outbreak interest has increased.
“We will be putting on extra sessions to pick up that demand in the next two weeks and we have a nurse coming from the east coast to help in those clinics.
In Brewarrina, Mr Pennyfield said there had also been a slow uptake of the vaccine, with less than 200 people out of an estimated eligible population of 600.
“We are reaching out to both Brewarrina and Bourke residents to book in with Ochre Health and get the vaccinations,” Mr Pennyfield said.
“There is certainly adequate supply, and we urge people to make that appointment.
“Two months ago, it was hard to get an uptake and originally it was a supply issue, but supply of vaccine is no longer an issue; we have good supplies from the government and a healthy stockpile of the vaccine.
“In remote and regional communities like Bourke it is resourcing rather than supply that is the problem. We need a GP to provide the vaccine and in Bourke resources are limited so we need to bring in locums and nurses to help facilitate the vaccination clinics,” he said.
Mr Pennyfield urged residents to book in with their GP for their vaccinations and to continue safe social distancing and hygiene practises to further protect themselves against COVID-19.
“At the moment we are taking phone bookings so just call the Ochre Medical Centre, talk to the team there and they will guide you through the COVID vaccine and the booster shot, as well as how to get your influenza vaccine.
“We have found the interest for the flu vaccine has been higher than for COVID, but that is starting to change as a result of what’s happening in Melbourne,” he said.