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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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24 March, 2021

First COVID-19 vaccinations in the Central West

THE COVID–19 vaccine rollout is now in action and all eligible Central West community members are urged to step up for a jab.

By Emily Blue Richards

The medical team on-site at Aramac Shire Hall on Monday, providing support and expert advice for the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations. Left to right: Dr David Walker, Central West Health Executive Director of Medical Services, Dr Rebecca Lingard, Director of Medical Services - Barcaldine Multipurpose Health Service, Jane Hancock, Health Service Chief Executive, Sue Dowling, Director of Nursing Aramac Primary Health Centre and Kate Whelan, graduate registered nurse at Barcaldine Multipurpose Health Service. PHOTO: Emily Blue Richards

“We’ve had no cases in the Central West because of because of the work that these communities have done, with all the measures they’ve put in place and the support of this government and councils,” Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jane Hancock said. 

Vaccinations were undertaken at Aramac, then progressing to Muttaburra, Jericho and Barcaldine, with Longreach on the list in coming weeks. 

“This is the next step and a big shout out and thank you to the communities of the Central West,” Ms Hancock said. 

“The Barcaldine Regional Council shire is the first community to receive the vaccine. 

“It's important that the COVID vaccine is seen in the context of those other COVID-safe measures, people still have to hand wash, they’ve still got to keep a safe distance, they’ve still got to get tested if they have symptoms. 

“It’s not a silver bullet, it's still got to be seen in that context of those other initiatives.” 

New nurse graduate Kate Whelan took a seat for the first jab in Aramac on Monday. 

“At this stage, this our best chance of getting back to our normal lives,” she said. 

“I’m a local to Longreach and I got the tap on the shoulder, so I did it.” 

Kate began her nursing career at Barcaldine Multipurpose Health Service last month and complimented the service of the vaccination team in Aramac. 

“It was great, the nurses in there are very well trained and very detailed, it didn’t hurt,” she said. 

Dr David Walker, the Central West Health Executive Director of Medical Services, was on-site supporting community members and the vaccination team.  

He expressed the understandable hesitancy for some people and allayed the nerves that reputable research was key to understanding the benefits of taking part in the vaccine rollout. 

“We know that this vaccine decreases the severity of this illness and there’s an emerging amount of evidence that this vaccine is giving us protection as well,” Dr Walker said. 

Ms Hancock said everyone in the region who was eligible and 18 years and over had access to the COVID–19 vaccine. 

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