Vaccine rollout takes toll

April 1, 2021 BY

GEELONG medical clinics have begun rolling out vaccines with phase 1B of the federal government’s timeline now in motion.

More than six million Australians became eligible for the vaccine since March 22, with 22 locations across Greater Geelong listed as COVID-19 vaccination sites.

As priority groups such as the elderly, health care and critical workers, adults with specified medical conditions, disabilities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55 are now eligible for the vaccine, local clinics have struggled to keep up with the demand.

Communications manager for Bellarine Community Health Laureen Deale said the Portarlington Clinic began vaccinating last Friday, with the first day booked out.

“We are only doing clinics on a Friday because the supply is very limited,” she said.

“Bookings have been taken one week in advance because you don’t know what supply you are going to have.”

The allocation of vaccines differs at each medical clinic with the Portarlington-based health centre receiving around 80 vaccines a week.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is one of the “largest logistical exercises” undertaken across the country.

“We are particularly encouraged by the enthusiastic response from Australians in getting vaccinated,” he said.

“Appointment availability will increase as the number of clinics grow from 1,000 to more than 4,000 over the next few weeks.”

An Armstrong Health spokesperson said their clinic has been allocated 100 vaccines a week, but they could not expand their resources any further as Phase 2A of the rollout approaches mid-year.

“It is just the extra work that is involved that puts a lot of pressure on,” the spokesperson said.

“We still have our regular patients and now we are getting people who are not our patients wanting the COVID injection.”

Armstrong Health is currently running clinics on Mondays and Thursdays with the aim of vaccinating up to 50 people per a clinic.

“We have blocked out half of our waiting area, so we are asking patients not come in until right on their allotted time,” they said.

“We have one lot of five come in, they fill out their consent forms and they wait 15 minutes after their vaccination to make sure they are okay.

“It all takes about 30 minutes then we ask them to leave get the next five in.

“We are just actually contemplating hiring more admin staff to help run it because we still have our regular work to contend with it.”

Australia is currently working towards the goal of having all willing adults fully vaccinated by the end of October.

Before booking in for the vaccine, people are being encouraged to check their eligibility using the Department of Health’s website.

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