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North Queensland residents encouraged to be patient as COVID-19 vaccination rollout begins

Published 22 March 2021

North Queensland residents are being urged to be patient, as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout program for Phase 1b ramps up in communities across the region.

COVID-19 vaccine rollout Phase 1b - Mackay
Frank Thorn from Mackay was one of the first Phase 1B recipients today when he had his vaccine at Health on Central in Andergrove. His message: “Get booked, get vaccinated”!

Some, but not all general practices in North Queensland, have opted in to deliver COVID-19 vaccines for the next stage of the vaccine rollout, called Phase 1b, with many commencing vaccinating today and over the next four weeks.

In addition, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and GP-led respiratory clinics are also part of this next phase, which begins as a progressive rollout today (22 March).

Phase 1b is for the over 70s, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55, adults with a specified medical condition, healthcare workers, and critical high-risk workers.

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) Chief Executive Officer Robin Whyte said that there has already been a high demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, not just from people who are eligible for Phase 1b, but from people in general. 

“We’ve been really pleased that so many residents are keen to get vaccinated in this next phase, however it's important to take the time to check your eligibility in this round, before making an appointment or calling your doctor,” Ms Whyte said.

“The Australian Government is leading a staged, gradual roll-out of the vaccine, with the most vulnerable populations being prioritised for an early vaccination.

“Please be assured that all eligible people across Queensland will have their turn to be vaccinated in the coming months.”

To check your eligibility for Phase 1b, or that of a loved one, visit the Vaccines Eligibility Checker: (https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility) or if you prefer not to use the online option, you can call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080.

“And if you have a regular GP who is part of the vaccination program, you may be contacted by the practice, when it is timely, about receiving your vaccination,” Ms Whyte said.

“We’re heartened by the fact that there is a low risk of contracting COVID-19 in Queensland at this current time, and all eligible Australians will have the opportunity to have this vaccination in the coming months.

“In the meantime, we encourage residents to ensure their Medicare details are correct, continue to practise good hygiene, physical distancing and adhere to local restrictions and understand how to isolate if you need to.

“As ever, if you're feeling unwell, don't go to work, avoid group activities, and get tested.”

Last updated: 22 March 2021
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