The Central West Hospital and Health Service has announced that vaccinations will soon be available to local teachers, plus students aged 12 and over, during upcoming school-based COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
CWHHS chief executive Jane Hancock said that while many of the community clinics began accepting bookings for children 12 years and over as soon as the federal government approved it, the dedicated school and children's clinics will further enhance the vaccine rollout.
"History has shown us one of the keys to a successful vaccination campaign is making vaccines available to people as close as possible to where they live and work," Ms Hancock said
"We are so proud to be the first Hospital and Health Service in Queensland to be able to provide this service specifically for children aged 12 and over in their schools.
"This is part of our whole of community approach to vaccination in our rural and remote communities.
"These clinics are not only for high school students, they are for any students at the schools aged 12 or older.
"Rest assured, consent forms have been, or will be, sent home with an information pack so parents can provide informed consent ahead of the school vaccination clinics - we will not be vaccinating any children without their parents' consent.
"Not to be left out, teachers and other school employees will also be offered the option to get vaccinated when the clinics visit their school.
"We want to see them join the wider school community and be part of the broader strategy to do everything possible to help keep the students, their families and our communities safe.
"The Central West Hospital and Health service has always strived to provide as many options for community members to get vaccinated as close to home as possible, and families with 12-year-olds still have the option to pop in to one of our many community clinics as well."
The COVID-19 vaccination program team, working closely with central west Queensland schools, has schedule the following clinics:
- Blackall State High School - September 8
- Longreach State High School - September 15
- Alpha State School (to be held at the Alpha Hospital) - September 16
- Barcaldine Children's clinic (all Barcaldine schools invited as this clinic falls in school holidays, to be held at the Barcaldine Town Hall) - September 22
- Winton Children's clinic (all Winton schools invited as this clinic falls in school holidays, to be held at the Winton Shire Hall) - September 29
Across the wider region, the CWHHS is encouraging anyone who is yet to get vaccinated to come forward.
Ms Hancock said that while some towns were really streaking ahead in regard to vaccination rates, there were still some towns that were not quite there yet.
"For example, Longreach recently crossed the 70 per cent milestone for fully vaccinated, and we have scheduled extra appointments in Blackall next week due to strong community support," Ms Hancock said.
"However, there are some towns where the rate of people fully vaccinated is well below the 50 per cent rate, while other towns are over 80 percent.
"We're looking at what we can do to further inform people that may be reluctant to come forward and get vaccinated."
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Ms Hancock said it was important to remember that before a vaccine is used in Australia, it must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
"The TGA assesses the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccines before they are registered for use in Australia," she said. "Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the TGA."
A full list of central west vaccination clinics is available online, and all bookings can be made by phoning 1800 953 703 between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm business days or emailing: CW-COVAX@health.qld.gov.au
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