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Vaccine Works: Ingham primary health providers showcased in COVID campaign

Published 27 October 2021

COVID-19 vaccine providers in the Hinchinbrook region are the latest to be showcased in a new campaign which highlights the incredible work primary care providers are doing to help protect North Queenslanders during the ongoing pandemic.

Pharmacist Andrew Gilberto from Hinchinbrook Community Pharmacy vaccinates a patient
Pharmacist Andrew Gilberto from Hinchinbrook Community Pharmacy vaccinates a patient

Vaccine Works campaign

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network’s (NQPHN) Vaccine Works campaign spotlights the region’s vaccinating general practices and pharmacies and focuses on the primary care sector’s highly successful role in increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in North Queensland.

In Ingham, two general practices and three pharmacies are currently vaccinating the local community:

  • Ingham Family Medical Practice
  • Hinchinbrook Health Care
  • Hinchinbrook Community Pharmacy
  • Ingham Plaza Pharmacy
  • Sadleirs Pharmacy.

As of today (27 October 2021), Ingham Family Medical Practice and Hinchinbrook Health Care have together delivered more than 10,000 COVID vaccines to the wider Hinchinbrook community, which has one of the highest COVID vaccination rates in Queensland.

Hinchinbrook Health Care has been vaccinating the local Ingham community since the vaccination rollout program began earlier this year.

“We’ve been actively involved in vaccinating our community against COVID-19, and have been flat out since March,” said Dr Stewart Jackson, GP at Hinchinbrook Health Care.

“We have a supportive community who respect GP advice and I feel this has contributed to a high take-up rate. 

“At our peak we were administering 200 vaccines a day, as well as doing core general practice work. As you can imagine, our practice waiting room was insanely busy!

“Our job is a long way from being finished, but we have the best nursing and front office staff who assist in running efficient clinics, and we are proud to contribute to the public health battle against this disease.”

Ingham Family Medical Practice has innovative ways of ensuring patients are comfortable during the vaccination process.

“We have kangaroos on site, cared for by one of our nurses and there to entertain the patients, who love coming along to see the animals while they wait outside on the veranda with music in the background and a cool breeze blowing through,” said Practice Manager Jessica Lavarini.

“We have great experience and teamwork, with our practice nurses and reception staff really stepping up and managing the situation with calm efficiency.

 “We know we cannot live forever isolated and believe that we have done an amazing job as a community to vaccinate as many of the at risk as we can.

“Our sympathies for those whose lives and employment have been greatly affected throughout the pandemic, but hopefully as the situation goes forward and people continue to be vaccinated, we will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Hinchinbrook Shire Council Mayor Ramon Jayo said he believes the early intervention work done at the start of the vaccination rollout had played a major role in the high vaccination rate for the Ingham community.

“People in our district recognised early on that the elderly are among the most vulnerable and because of our caring nature, everyone hooked in and got the job done to lessen the risk to our community,” said Mayor Jayo.

“I have no doubt it was the early intervention and initiative from our medical practitioners and how hard they pushed and publicly campaigned which convinced their patients to get vaccinated, and they should be rightly commended for this.”

Andrew Giliberto from Hinchinbrook Community Pharmacy said his pharmacy felt privileged to be a part of vaccinating the local community to protect them against COVID-19.

“Hinchinbrook Shire has a largely ageing population, therefore it is of paramount importance that each and every member of our community do their part to protect their neighbours, family, and friends.

“Hinchinbrook Community Pharmacy is proud to be on the frontline of the vaccine rollout to safeguard the people of the Lower Herbert and beyond.”

NQPHN Chief Executive Officer Robin Whyte praised Ingham’s vaccinating GPs and pharmacies and said the primary care sector is playing a key role in the ever-increasing rate of COVID-19 vaccinations across North Queensland.

“Our Vaccine Works campaign is about showcasing our local primary care providers for all the amazing work they’ve done over the past few months to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates in North Queensland and protect our community,” Ms Whyte said.

“Primary care plays a vital role in the national vaccination rollout program, as it has the capacity to vaccinate in a distributed model by offering place-based solutions in local communities.

“North Queensland, due to its geography, presents unique challenges and opportunities, and the incredible work of general practices and pharmacies in our region will support us to reach our vaccination targets sooner rather than later.”

In North Queensland, there are currently 135 general practices, 115 pharmacies, 10 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, and four GP-led Respiratory Clinics administering COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna).

To book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, including at Queensland Health clinics, people are encouraged to use the Australian Government’s official COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder at https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au  

Last updated: 16 November 2021