By Raquel Mustillo
MOUNT Gambier’s community COVID-19 clinic will open later this month and vaccinate approximately 1000 people each week using the Pfizer vaccine, Premier Steven Marshall has announced.
The clinic will be established at Mount Gambier Central and bookings are expected to be available as of next week.
In response to a question from independent MP Troy Bell in Parliament, Mr Marshall said the facility will replace the clinic at the Mount Gambier Hospital to allow staff to resume primary healthcare responsibilities.
Mr Marshall said the establishment of a community clinic was prompted by advice from Australia’s expert vaccine advisory body – the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation – recommending individuals under the age of 50 should receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“That is the reason why we will be setting up this clinic down in Mount Gambier,” he said.
Mr Marshall told the house 2339 first doses and 1414 second doses had been administered at the Mount Gambier Hospital.
He said the state’s vaccination program was the next phase in the government’s fight against coronavirus and urged individuals to get vaccinated when eligible to receive it.
“It’s safe, it’s effective, it’s free and it’s voluntary,” Mr Marshall said.
“The simple fact of the matter is that, by taking this vaccine when you are eligible to have it, you will be protecting yourself, your family, your community, your workplace. “You will be doing your part in keeping our entire state safe and therefore, of course, our economy strong.”
Mr Marshall said general practitioners will continue to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In response, Mr Bell said many community members were frustrated and concerned by the current vaccination program due to clinics receiving just 50 doses each week. “What has happened in the past is that that shipment or supply of 50 doses sometimes has not arrived, so a clinic has a complete booking list for the following week with no vaccines actually in their premises,” he said.
“We have a large number of people who are over 50 years of age… and their concern is that they ring… the clinic and the bookings are already taken up, so they cannot actually get the vaccine that they need to keep them safe, as a high-risk group.
“To hear that the Premier is taking action and establishing this hub in Helen Street, vaccinating up to a thousand people per week on top of what the clinic is already doing, is certainly welcome news.”