The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service will start to open its COVID-19 vaccination hubs in community locations next week.
The openings come as the organisation transitions towards community vaccinations to support the ongoing implementation of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
The WBHHS hubs will continue to concentrate on vaccinating people in the 1a and 1b groups who have not yet received the vaccine, such as critical and frontline workers including police, firefighters, emergency services, surf lifesavers, SES volunteers and meat-packing personnel.
The hubs are also commencing vaccination of the 2a priority group, which includes people aged 50 and over.
WBHHS Vaccine Lead and Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services Fiona Sewell said the community clinics would initially offer the AstraZeneca vaccine before the Pfizer vaccine was also rolled out.
“We’re excited to be able to support and supplement the community rollout being led by the primary care sector, and we look forward to giving more people the chance to be protected from severe illness from COVID-19,” Ms Sewell said.
“We felt it was important to start transitioning our services away from our hospitals and into the community so that we would be well prepared to significantly and seamlessly step up our vaccination volumes for eligible members of the community.
“Once we’re running at full speed with both vaccines available, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered to people aged 50 and older, while the Pfizer vaccine will be offered to people under the age of 50 who are eligible in Priority Group 1a or 1b.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey received his vaccination this week at Grace Medical Skin and Vein Centre and urged residents to also put their health first.
“According to Queensland Health the vaccine is safe and effective and will protect you from COVID-19,” he said.
“All vaccines given in Australia have passed tests to prove they are safe and work well.
“It’s important for public health and economic recovery that people get vaccinated when they are able to.”
Over 50s encouraged to visit vaccination hubs
The WBHHS is encouraging people aged 50 and older to attend the clinics in person, either to be vaccinated on the spot if an appointment was available, or to book an appointment for a later time.
“We encourage people who want the protection of the vaccine to attend our clinics,” Ms Sewell said.
“All of our community locations are easily accessible and have good parking onsite or close by, and have also been chosen for a range of reasons including their proximity to hospitals and having the required space to enable our teams to establish safe and functional clinical and patient areas.”
The Bundaberg hub will be located at TAFE Queensland and opens on Thursday, 13 May with the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine will be available at the hub from Tuesday, 18 May.
Operating hours are from 8am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, but the hubs will be closed on some days to enable the vaccination teams to conduct outreach clinics around the region.
For full details on opening days and times, visit www.health.qld.gov.au/widebay/vaccine.