General practice leads the way in COVID vaccination rollout

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More than 35,000 people across South Eastern NSW have been vaccinated in the first 6 weeks of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

General practices have an important role in protecting South Eastern NSW residents against the COVID-19 virus.

According to Dianne Kitcher, CEO of COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN, in the first six weeks, more than 35,000 people across South Eastern NSW have been vaccinated at a general practice or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) site.

"As 135 general practices are approved to administer the vaccine, these figures demonstrate that general practices are providing a convenient way to access the COVID vaccine," said Ms Kitcher.

"People can book their vaccine appointments directly at a participating general practice – in the same way as they do a seasonal flu vaccine. Most people who have accessed the vaccine are aged over 70 or are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 55 years. Some people aged over 50 who work in frontline services, or have certain underlying medical conditions, have also received the vaccine without any adverse effects,” Ms Kitcher said.

"We are encouraging vulnerable groups, such as older people and people with certain underlying medical conditions to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

From 17 May, people aged 50 years will be able to make appointments at participating general practices” she added.

Ms Kitcher said older people who reside in aged care facilities remain a priority in the vaccine rollout.

"To date, approximately 91 percent of residents in 79 different aged care facilities across South Eastern NSW have had their first dose of the COVID vaccine and 70 percent are fully vaccinated. Aged care workers are also a priority group and many staff have received at least their first vaccination and a number have also had their second dose. Nearly 3,000 aged care facility residents and staff in our region are fully vaccinated with both their first and second dose of vaccine," she said.

Following recent reports of a Sydney couple testing positive to COVID-19, Ms Kitcher emphasised the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as possible and maintaining hygiene practices, physical distancing and testing for COVID-19 during the vaccine rollout.

"Vaccines are the game changer in our fight against the COVID-19 virus and we are encouraging everyone in South Eastern NSW to get vaccinated when they are able to. To find the closest vaccination site, you can use the vaccine eligibility tracker on the Department of Health’s website,” Ms Kitcher said.

If you have questions about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or need help with the COVIDSafe app, you can call the COVID-19 vaccination helpline on 1800 020 080.

To check to see if you can book a COVID-19 vaccination click here.