Following public outcry about a potential 11-hour return trip for some Southern New South Wales frontline workers to access the jab, Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain has successfully petitioned for the vaccine to be administered closer to home.
The situation was partially resolved this week, with the announcement vaccinators from Liverpool Hospital in south west Sydney will travel to Bega Hospital on the NSW South Coast to vaccinate staff from Bega, Moruya and Cooma hospitals.
Ms McBain said she met with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday, 18 February, and was pleased to announce a common-sense solutions for her constituents.
“Last week I was contacted by doctors and nurses in the electorate who were facing two days off work and time away from their patients and loved ones in order to take part in phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” she said.
Ms McBain said this proposal had the potential to leave hospital and local GP clinics short staffed – “a situation that was simply unworkable and unfair”.
Canberra Health Services will vaccinate Emergency Department staff from Eden-Monaro’s Yass and Queanbeyan District Hospitals as part of phase 1a.
The locations of pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics across the vast electorate encircling the ACT are yet to be determined.
Eden-Monaro covers an area from Yass, Murrumbateman and Bungendore in the north all the way down to the Victorian border in the south.
The Bega Valley district was badly affected by the 2019/20 bushfires, and Ms McBain said local frontline workers carried the weight of bushfires and the pandemic.
“The people of Eden-Monaro have risen to the challenges of the last 18 months with dignity and a deep commitment to each other,” she said.
“The rollout of the vaccine will help our resolve and bolster our dedication to see this through and continue to build a strong renewal.”
On Monday 22 February, the first Canberrans to be offered immunity against coronavirus received doses of the Pfizer vaccine in Garran.
Last week the TGA approved AstraZeneca, the vaccine to be administered to most of the general population, which will be the only vaccine manufactured locally in Australia.
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