10 May 2023

One community leading the way on COVID vaccination rates

| Matt Nicholls
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A massive 88 per cent of the Cape community’s eligible population rolled up its sleeve last week to get their first dose of the vaccine.

It’s fair to say that Pormpuraaw is the leading contender in the race to get vaccinated, just ahead of Lockhart River, who had about a 73 per cent turnout earlier this month.

Aurukun, however, was a bit like the Brisbane Broncos, with just 31 per cent of the eligible population turning up for their jab last week.

Weipa also needs to lift if it wants to make finals.

Last week, 952 people were given their jab at the Weipa Storm Surge Shelter, bringing the number to about 34 per cent of the eligible population.

The good news is that Weipa residents still have this week and next week to make a booking.

“The turnout at Pormpuraaw was truly amazing and I would like to thank the entire community and the community leaders for getting behind the vaccination program in such numbers,” Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service chief executive Bev Hamerton said.

“Pormpuraaw this week with 88 per cent and Lockhart River last week with a 73 per cent turnout are really showing the way to all communities in the Torres and Cape region.

“But we would really like to encourage many more Weipa residents to turn up for their vaccinations over the next two weeks as our forward bookings have dropped off.

“As with all our Cape York and Northern Peninsula Area vaccination clinics, including catch-up clinics, you can book in for your vaccination by phoning (07) 3497 3442 – but please also feel free to just walk in.

“Don’t feel you must miss out if you haven’t booked. We are keen to immunise you, booked in or not.

“We are also starting to see numbers of young people aged 12-15 years being brought in for vaccination.

“We started offering vaccinations to this youth cohort last week, in line with new national guidelines for the Pfizer vaccination which we are now delivering across the health service.”

Ms Hamerton said the health service was aiming for at least an 80 per cent vaccination rate right across the Torres and Cape region.

“But to achieve this rate, we need people to keep turning up to our vaccination clinics in large numbers for both first and second doses of vaccine,” she said.

“You really must have two doses of vaccine for maximal protection.

“No vaccine is 100 per cent effective, but current evidence shows that people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine have a much lower chance of developing more serious symptoms from the virus, compared to those who did not get the vaccine.

“We also know the Delta strain of the virus can spread like wildfire once it takes hold and if the virus moves into our vulnerable First Nations communities it will be devastating.

“So, our message for every Torres and Cape resident that can be vaccinated is simple – make the choice and get vaccinated so we can work towards a pathway out of the pandemic.”

This week, vaccinations will continue at Weipa and second dose Pfizer vaccinations will be delivered to Northern Peninsula Area communities and to Mabuiag Island.

From August 30, teams will continue vaccinating at Weipa, as well as Napranum and Mapoon and will start delivering second dose Pfizer at Bamaga.

From September 6, second dose Pfizer vaccines will start being delivered at Weipa, Coen, Lockhart River and Kowanyama.

From mid-September to mid-October, first and second doses of vaccine will be delivered to communities on the eastern Cape, including Hope Vale, Laura, Lakeland, Wujal Wujal and Cooktown.

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