23 July, 2021
UPDATE: CW Health urges locals to keep up-to-date with vaccinations, testing sites updated
Central West Health said recent event should act as a wake-up call to those who are not vaccinated.
CENTRAL West residents are being urged to find an opportunity to get vaccinated as COVID– 19 as southern states continue to battle with breakouts.
Central West Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Medical Services Dr David Walker said the new Queensland case involving a flight attendant on a Brisbane–Longreach–Brisbane flight should be a wake-up call to all Central West residents.
“We have been lucky so far that we have had no local cases of COVID-19 within our health service,’’ he said.
“But we cannot rely on luck to continue protecting us.
"Vaccination is the best and only way to protect our communities.
“While no vaccine is 100 per cent effective, 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.
“And remember, I cannot emphasise enough that once you have had a first dose of vaccine, you must not neglect to have your second dose; you need two doses of the same vaccine for maximal effective protection, so please make sure you have both – whether that’s two doses of AstraZeneca or two doses of Pfizer.
Dr Walker said it was especially important for those who are at higher risk of serious illness of the disease.
“This includes people aged 70 and older, those with certain chronic conditions and those who have conditions that compromise their immune systems,” he said.
“If you have any medical conditions, you should discuss your individual risk and what you can do to protect yourself with your treating doctor.’’
Dr Walker said testing for COVID–19 also was a vital measure in quickly identifying and isolating positive cases and their close contacts and reducing the spread of the disease.
“If you have any of the COVID–19 symptoms: fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea or lack of taste or smell, you should be tested,’’ he said. “In response to the latest positive Queensland positive case, we have opened a pop-up COVID testing clinic at the Longreach Showgrounds which is open until 9 pm tonight (Friday).
“Please go and get tested if you have any concerns.’’
Testing will continue to be available in Longreach over the weekend and on Monday at the following locations and times: 24 July: 9 am to 3 pm – Longreach Showgrounds, 25 July: 9 am to 3 pm – Longreach Showgrounds 26 July: 9 am to 12 noon. Back of Longreach Hospital.
Dr Walker said testing for COVID-19 also was available at all Central West health facilities throughout the region on any day.
“You can also do your part to stay safe by practising good hygiene – and staying home if you are sick. Washing your hands is the gold standard of health advice as far as coronavirus goes,’’ he said. “Washing your hands properly and often means that you can help prevent viruses from entering your body.’’
Dr Walker said catch-up AstraZeneca vaccination clinics were being held across the region over the next three weeks, along with the ongoing Pfizer vaccination program.
This week, more than 180 people were vaccinated at the AstraZeneca catch-up clinics at Barcaldine, Aramac, Muttaburra, Blackall and Tambo, as well as at Pfizer clinics at Bedourie and Longreach.
The vaccination program is continuing at Boulia today (Friday) Dr Walker said total numbers continued to track well, with about 61 per cent of eligible Central West residents having received at least a first dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine.
So far, about 36.4 per cent of all eligible Central West residents are now fully vaccinated with both first and second doses of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer.
Central West Health is partnering with the Royal Flying Doctor Service Queensland and Western Queensland Primary Health Network (PHN) to deliver the vaccination program to all communities.
As part of the program, the RFDS this week delivered Pfizer clinics at Jundah and Birdsville. “Together with our partners the RFDS and Western Queensland PHN, we have now delivered more than 8400 doses of vaccine across the region, with numbers boosted by the extension of the program to those aged from 16 years up,’’ Dr Walker said.
Central West Health is offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to everyone who has had the first dose of the vaccine without any serious adverse effects, including adults aged under 50 years.
Everyone else, aged 16 and over, who has not yet had a first dose of COVID–19 vaccine, is being offered Pfizer.
Pfizer first and second doses should be a minimum 21 days apart but can be administered up to 42 days from first vaccination.
Under current national guidelines, mixing vaccines is not recommended, so people who have had a first dose of AstraZeneca must have AstraZeneca as their second dose, not Pfizer.
New national health advice now recommends a one-week gap between a person’s COVAX and any other vaccine, including the seasonal FlUVAX, rather than the previous two-week gap. “The Pfizer vaccine is now also recommended for pregnant woman, so pregnant women are encouraged to come forward and receive the vaccine so they and their unborn child can be protected from COVID19.
Upcoming AstraZeneca catch-up clinics: Alpha: Thursday 29 July, at Alpha Hospital, Jericho: Thursday 29 July, at Jericho PHC, Longreach: Tuesday 5, August at the Longreach Civic & Cultural Centre, Winton: Thursday 12 August, at the Winton Hospital.
Upcoming Pfizer clinics, first and second doses: Barcaldine: (inc. Alpha, Jericho, Muttaburra and Aramac) Monday-Wednesday 26-28 July, at the Barcaldine Town Hall, Longreach: (inc. Muttaburra- Isisford) Monday-Wednesday 2-4 August; at the Longreach Civic & Cultural Centre, Winton: Thursday-Friday 29-30 July; at the council facilities in Vindex St.