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    Donald resident Tanya May was the first to receive a community Pfizer vaccine at Wimmera Health Care Group.

Strong demand for Pfizer vaccine in Wimmera centres

By SARAH MATTHEWS

The arrival of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the Wimmera has been met with hot demand, with the first block of appointments in Horsham booked out within a few hours.

Wimmera Health Care Group started its community vaccination program yesterday, after dedicating the first few weeks of its vaccination roll-out to staff and aged-care residents.

The health service opened appointments on Monday morning, with phone lines ringing hot. All time slots were filled within a few hours. 



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Acting clinical improvement, risk and innovation director Roxanne Tucker said the health service would inform the community when the next round of bookings would open. 

“There’s been an overwhelming response of people ringing in wanting to book an appointment,” she said.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding.

“For those of you who were unable to secure a booking, keep your eyes open for updates in the local media and on our Facebook page as to when the next clinics will be available.”

People aged between 40 and 49 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine at state-run vaccination sites.

The government recommends the AstraZeneca vaccine for people 50 and older. 

Wimmera Health Care Group clinical improvement, risk and innovation director Sally Taylor said some younger people were also eligible to be vaccinated, including those with disabilities, mental illness, registered carers, emergency service workers and other workers in high-risk groups.

“There is strict eligibility criteria and evidence of your eligibility may be needed before you can be vaccinated,” she said.

She said staff would vaccinate people in temporary clinic settings for the time being, with the establishment of a fixed community vaccination clinic ‘still a few weeks away’.

“In the meantime we will provide as many opportunities for community vaccinations as possible with our limited resources,” she said.

East Grampians Health Service’s community vaccination clinic has been up and running for about three weeks and is also distributing the Pfizer vaccine.

Staff vaccinated 180 people on Saturday, delivering Pfizer vaccines for people aged 40 to 49 in the morning, and AstraZeneca vaccines for people aged 50 and older in the afternoon. 

The clinic, at Pyrenees House in Girdlestone Street, is open Monday to Friday and will also be open on Saturday due to the volume of bookings.

Health service leaders said bookings were essential by calling 5352 9363 between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, and encouraged people to be patient due to a high number of calls. 

Staff at Lister House-run Wimmera Vaccination Clinic at Up Tempo Café on Dimboola Road have also been busy delivering AstraZeneca vaccinations.

People can make appointments online at hotdoc.com.au or at Lister House.

The clinic is now accepting walk-ins, although waiting times might apply.

The COVID-19 vaccination program involves two injections, and the second vaccine must be the same brand as the first.

The Pfizer vaccine requires three weeks between doses and AstraZeneca, 12 weeks.

Several GP clinics throughout the Wimmera-Mallee are also delivering COVID-19 vaccines, although not all have access to the Pfizer variant.

People can visit westvicphn.com.au for a list of eligible clinics in the Wimmera and Grampians. 

The entire June 2, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!