Today marks 12 months since Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service launched its COVID-19 vaccination program, when locals were among the first people in regional Queensland to receive the jab.
The local rollout began with third-generation nurse and Emergency Department Nurse Unit Manager Suzanne Smith who was determined to lead the effort to protect herself and those around her.
Twelve months on, 99 per cent of Wide Bay residents have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 93 per cent have received their second dose (aged 12+).
WBHHS Vaccine Lead Fiona Sewell said the result was an extraordinary effort and congratulated the region for achieving one of the highest vaccination rates in the state.
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones against the impacts of COVID-19, including serious illness or death from the virus,” Ms Sewell said.
“So, I’m extremely proud of our community for making the decision to come forward and receive the jab.
“Our vaccination journey has also required significant coordination effort – not only internally by our amazing WBHHS vaccination teams who continue to go above and beyond, but also with our partners.
“A huge thank you to our local general practitioners, pharmacies and health partners, Queensland Police Service, our primary health network and local councils, media outlets, TAFE Queensland and all of our other venues who have played an important role in achieving this result.
“As I’ve said all along, #TogetherWe’veGotThis, and I honestly believe this experience has strengthened our relationships across the region with our local communities and stakeholders.”
Ms Sewell said that while the milestone was something to celebrate, there was still much work to be done.
“We’re sitting at around the 50 per cent mark for booster doses and we’re eager to see this figure grow, so I urge anyone aged 16+ to come forward and receive their booster shot if they are eligible,” she said.
“A booster dose will make sure the protection from the first two doses is even stronger and longer-lasting, giving your body a greater chance of fighting the virus if you become infected.
“We’re also encouraging parents to make the choice to get their child vaccinated against COVID-19, with local vaccination rates sitting around the 35 per cent mark for children aged 5 to 11 years old.
“Young people tend to be very social, and the recent variants of COVID-19 are highly contagious, and we are seeing increased circulation amongst children.
“Vaccination is an important way of protecting them from getting seriously ill, being hospitalised and long-term complications if they do get COVID-19.
“If you have questions, please talk to your local GP or pharmacist, or visit one of our vaccine clinics.”
Further information about where the COVID-19 vaccine is available at, click here.
For information about local WBHHS vaccine clinics click here.
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