10 May 2023

Vaccine dates set for Weipa and Cape York

| Matt Nicholls
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The news was announced by Weipa Hospital’s nursing director Kindee Lawty at last week’s Rio Tinto community forum.

“We think we should be able to have 80 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated by the end of September,” she said.

“Our numbers suggest that we need to vaccinate 2400 people in Weipa, 870 in Napranum and 160 in Mapoon to make up that 80 per cent of the eligible population.”

Cape York Weekly understands that Weipa’s storm surge shelter in Rocky Point will be the hub for the vaccines, although Queensland Health has yet to book the facility.

The shelter was used last year for flu jabs.

Venues have not been locked in for Mapoon and Napranum.

Meanwhile, the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service will restart its COVID vaccination program from May 17, subject to stocks of the Pfizer vaccine arriving during the first week of May.

CEO Beverley Hamerton said the health service had been advised that the special freezer to hold the Pfizer vaccine had arrived in Australia and was on its way north.

“We expect everything to arrive on Thursday Island during the first week of May,” she said.

“Subject to this, and barring any other challenges, we will restart the vaccination program from May 17 on Thursday Island, where we will be vaccinating health and emergency services staff who have not yet had their first dose of vaccine, as well as members of the general population.

“We will be using Thursday Island Hospital as a hub to distribute the Pfizer vaccine to communities across the Torres Strait and NPA.

Ms Hamerton said anyone who had not yet had their first dose of vaccine would only be offered the Pfizer vaccine.

“However, Australia’s national health authorities have emphasised that people who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious adverse effects can safely be given their second dose,’’ Ms Hamerton said.

“This includes adults under 50 years of age.

“A total of 992 residents of the Torres Strait have already had the first dose of AstraZeneca.”

Bamaga and the NPA will get its first dose of Pfizer from early August, with the second dose to be offered later that month and in early September.

Ms Lawty told the community forum that Weipa would be able to get its first dose of Pfizer from August 16, with Napranum and Mapoon to follow.

The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service will spend the next few weeks educating the community about the vaccine in a bid to restore confidence.

“Between now and when the vaccination program restarts, we are rolling out community engagement meetings across the Torres Strait to address concerns and answer questions about the vaccination program and the vaccines,” Ms Hamerton said.

“Immunisation remains the safest way forward. Immunisation not only protects you and your family, but also others by helping to control serious diseases in our community.

“We hope our communities will be able to move past the recent uncertainty relating to the AstraZeneca vaccine and appreciate the very real benefits for individuals and communities of being vaccinated against coronavirus.

“This is the message our clinical teams will be delivering to all our communities over the next few weeks.’’


First dose Pfizer

Weipa: August 16 to September 3

Mapoon: August 30 to September 3

Napranum: September 6 to 10

Cooktown: September 27 to October 8

Laura & Lakeland: October 4 to 8

Hope Vale: October 11 to 15

Wujal Wujal: October 11 to 15

Aurukun: November 8 to 12

Lockhart River: November 15 to 19

Kowanyama: November 15 to 19

Coen: November 22 to 26

Pormpuraaw: November 22 to 26

Second doze Pfizer

Weipa: September 6 to 24

Mapoon: September 20 to 24

Napranum: September 27 to October 1

Cooktown: October 18 to 29

Laura & Lakeland: October 25 to 29

Hope Vale: November 1 to 5

Wujal Wujal: November 1 to 5

Aurukun: November 29 to December 3

Lockhart River: December 6 to 10

Kowanyama: December 6 to 10

Coen: December 13 to 17

Pormpuraaw: December 13 to 17

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