Gympie GPs and residents have joined the global fight against COVID-19, with the first batch of vaccinations being given in the region this week.

Carmel and Robert Clarke were among the first to receive their injections at Southside Medical Centre on Thursday morning, with the help of Dr Randal Davis and Nadine Edmunds.

Mr Clarke had no concerns about receiving the shot.

“We were brought up back in the era when we had all of these things (diseases) out there and we beat them by vaccines,” Mr Clarke said.

Dr Davis said the centre was expected to vaccinate 70 people by the end of the day.

Sunshine Coast GP Dr Jon Harper said the aim of the vaccination program is to reduce the severity of symptoms in people who contract COVID-19, and to reduce hospital presentations and preventable deaths as a result of the virus.

Dr Randal Davis with COVID vaccine recipients Robert and Carmel Clarke at Southside Medical Centre.
Dr Randal Davis with COVID vaccine recipients Robert and Carmel Clarke at Southside Medical Centre.

“In many ways this is just another vaccination program; general practices have been rolling out national vaccination programs for many years and practice staff are well trained in safely storing and administering vaccines,“ Dr Harper said.

“In Australia, we have the benefit of watching other countries that have already vaccinated millions of people and the data shows that the vaccine is incredibly safe.

“There are some minor, short-lived side effects, that are relatively common in many vaccines – sore arm, brief chills, muscle aches.

“Severe allergic reactions, like anaphylaxis, has occurred in only a very small number of cases and people with a history of anaphylaxis should talk to their doctor before being vaccinated.”

Carmel Clarke receives her vaccination from Nadine Edmunds.
Carmel Clarke receives her vaccination from Nadine Edmunds.

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Phase 1b is for the over 70s, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55, adults with underlying medical conditions, including those with a disability, along with critical high-risk workers and those working on the frontline in healthcare.

The COVID-19 vaccine is delivered in two doses, the second delivered 10 to 12 weeks after the first.

Robb Major from Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN said some, but not all, general practices have opted in to deliver COVID-19 vaccines for this stage of the vaccine rollout, and supplies of the vaccine would vary between practices.

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“The vaccination rollout will go slowly at first while supply is secured but as it progressively increases over the months ahead, more practices are likely to come on board too,” Mr Major said.

“We are lucky here in Queensland, and indeed Australia, that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is very low, so there’s no rush to get your jab in the first week.

“It‘s more important people to take the time to go online and check their eligibility for this round before calling a doctor and making an appointment.

Dr Randal Davis with COVID vaccine recipient Robert Clarke, with Nadine Edmunds administering the shot.
Dr Randal Davis with COVID vaccine recipient Robert Clarke, with Nadine Edmunds administering the shot.

To check your eligibility or that of a loved one online via the Eligibility Checker:
covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility

Those who prefer not to use the online option can call the National coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080.

Mr Major said while it was prudent to vaccinate our most vulnerable populations first, all eligible Australians will have the opportunity to have the COVID-19 vaccination in the coming months.

“In the meantime, we encourage everyone to make sure their Medicare details are up to date and continue to practise good hygiene, physical distancing, adhere to local restrictions and understand how to isolate if needed,” Mr Major said.

“If you‘re feeling unwell, particularly with flu-like symptoms, don’t go to work or to activities in big groups.

“And of course, go and get tested.”

Gympie Times


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