Qld Health yet to confirm Burnett vaccine arrival date
Australia breathed a sigh of relief as the first COVID vaccines starting being administered to quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers, and aged and disability care residents and staff across priority metropolitan areas this week.
With Cairns becoming the first site in regional Queensland to get the jab, the question on everyone's lips is when will the vaccine become available across more regional and remote areas?
The South Burnett Times put this question to Queensland health, who do not know when Kingaroy Hospital will receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“Queensland Health is working closely with the Australian Government on the vaccine’s roll out, which must be staged as we receive stocks of vaccine,” a Queensland Health spokeswoman said.
“We want all Queenslanders to have the opportunity to be protected against COVID-19, including our regional, rural and remote communities.
“This vaccine effort is the greatest in global history. Vaccine supplies are limited, and Australia must prioritise who receives the vaccine, and when.”
The vaccine has so far arrived at Gold Coast University Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Townsville University Hospital and Cairns Hospital, which have been identified as higher risk locations for COVID-19 exposure.
“The Department of Health is working with all Hospital and Health Services, including Darling Downs, on planning and preparing for the vaccination rollout,” the spokeswoman said.
“As larger supplies of AstraZeneca vaccine become available, expected from mid to late March, the vaccination program will be progressively expanded across Queensland.
“People living in Queensland’s regional, rural and remote regions will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Speaking in parliament, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said “the rollout goes right up until the end of October so people will have to realise that there is a plan in place”.
“It’s something that I know everyone in Australia has been waiting for and Queenslanders are waiting for but once again, it’ll start off very slowly, so no one needs to panic or to turn up anywhere,” she said.
“We will be inviting people to come to specific centres when we get more supply and of course, then the AstraZeneca comes as well.”
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the rollout will begin with quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers, over 70s and younger people with severe underlying conditions, before eventually being expanded to include the rest of the population.
“No one will be missed here,” Dr Young said.
“Anyone 18 years of age or over will be able to be vaccinated except for a very few, small cohorts.
“That is our plan and that’s what will be rolled out here in Queensland.”