Isolated regional areas with tiny populations are getting vaccinated at a higher rate than at-risk metropolitan areas. Here’s why.
Isolated regional areas with tiny populations are getting vaccinated at a higher rate than at-risk metropolitan areas. Here’s why.

Big flaw in our vaccine rollout

Outback Queensland could become the first region in the state to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with almost a quarter of the population having already received a jab, well ahead of high-risk city dwellers.

While less than 2 per cent of the entire Queensland population have received their shot, already 25 per cent of eligible adults in the Central West Hospital and Health Service (CWHHS), which encompasses 33 per cent of the Sunshine State's landmass and includes Longreach, Birdsville and Winton, have received their jab.

Almost 25 per cent of adults in Central West Hospital and Health Service have received their jab. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles
Almost 25 per cent of adults in Central West Hospital and Health Service have received their jab. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

CWHHS executive director Dr David Walker said a whole-of-community approach in some outback communities ensured a "practical and sensible vaccination strategy".

"Here in the Central West, we are delivering COVID-19 vaccinations in our region through outreach vaccination clinics to each individual community rather than a hub delivery system," he said.

"Our population sizes are quite small here … Consequently, it makes more sense for our immunisation teams to offer this vaccine to all eligible community members and health service staff over 18 who want it at the one time.

"This is more efficient than segmenting already small population sizes into even tinier priority groups and immunising them at different times."

A ‘whole-of-community’ approach is being implemented for parts of outback Queensland due to vast distances and sparse populations. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles
A ‘whole-of-community’ approach is being implemented for parts of outback Queensland due to vast distances and sparse populations. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

Dr Walker said there were many older people within the community who were not residents at aged care facilities.

"Our staff have worked tirelessly to reach all vulnerable people in each community to ensure access for all," he said.

By Wednesday, March 31, already 1903 Central West Queenslanders had been vaccinated, with a further 130 residents and staff in aged care facilities immunised by the Western Queensland Primary Health Network.

Dr Walker said he estimated there were "about 7700" eligible adults who could get the vaccine.

"We hope to achieve a high vaccination percentage among the eligible adult population … but our ultimate success depends upon our communities turning out to be vaccinated when the clinic is in their town," he said.

"It has been really great to see how well-received the vaccination program has been in the communities we have visited so far."

In addition, the Royal Flying Doctor Service has delivered vaccination clinics at Jundah and Birdsville, where 56 and 86 residents respectively were vaccinated.

The teams will return at the 12-week mark to ensure all participants receive their send jab.

 

 

Originally published as Big flaw in Qld vaccine rollout



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