10 May 2023

Vaccination rate strong in remote Torres Strait

| Cape York Weekly
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The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service COVID-19 vaccination team wrapped up its work on Boigu Island on Friday after spending the past four days on the island.

Previously, the team had visited Dauan Island on Monday and was on Saibai all last week.

TCHHS director of medical services Dr Marlow Coates said the turnout for the first two weeks of vaccination in the Torres Strait islands had been impressive.

“The combined total of 403 people vaccinated over the past fortnight on Saibai, Dauan and Boigu islands represents nearly 95 per cent of the total estimated 425 people on all three islands who are in the eligible adult population,” he said.

“This includes 156 people vaccinated on Boigu Island over the past four days, with the number representing both eligible residents and a number of Australian Border Force and other government agency personnel on the island at the time.

“This is a great outcome and shows how seriously the communities of these three islands take the need to protect themselves and their families and how aware they are of the risk of COVID-19.”

TCHHS executive director of medical services Dr Tony Brown said the next port of call in the Torres Strait would be Thursday Island this week.

“We will be using the short week before Easter to vaccinate health service staff on Thursday Island – of whom we have nearly 400 – but will return to offer vaccinations to the general public on Thursday Island further down the track,” he said.

“After Easter, we will be visiting Horn and Hammond islands to vaccinate the general population there from April 6 to 9.

“We will then be sending three separate teams out from April 12 to 16, with one team going to Erub (Darnley) and (Stephen) Islands, a second team to Iama (Yam) and Masig (Yorke) Islands and a third team going to Badu Island.

“We will progress to the remaining islands of the Torres Strait, including returning to Thursday Island to vaccinate the general population.”

Dates for Cape York and the NPA have yet to be finalised.

“The turnout has been outstanding and I have no doubt other communities in the Torres Strait as well as Cape York, also will be keen to be vaccinated,’’ Dr Brown said.

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