When Chinchilla can expect the COVID-19 vaccine

As Queensland gears up for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, February 22, the Chinchilla News asked Queensland Health when the vaccine would hit regional towns and if residents will be expected to travel hundreds of kilometres to the nearest city centre – here’s what the department had to say.

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A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the department wants regional and remote Queenslanders to have the option of being vaccinated against COVID-19, but would not comment on when and if the vaccine would be available locally.

“People living in Queensland’s regional, rural and remote regions will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest possible opportunity,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Department of Health is working with all Hospital and Health Services, including Darling Downs, on planning and preparing for the vaccination rollout.”

The spokeswoman said they will know more about the rollout in regional Queensland when the department receives stock numbers of the vaccine.

“This vaccine effort is the greatest in global history. Vaccine supplies are limited, and Australia must prioritise who receives the vaccine, and when,” she said.

“As larger supplies of AstraZeneca vaccine become available, expected from mid to late March, the vaccination program will be progressively expanded across Queensland.

“More locations will come online, including more hospitals, and GPs and pharmacies to deliver the vaccine to more Queenslanders, as safely and quickly as possible.”

Minister for Rural Health, Mark Coulton said Australia’s world class primary health workforce would be critical to the success of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“The rural health workforce – including doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and allied health professionals – have continually risen to the challenges of COVID-19 over the past year and will play a pivotal role in supporting the rollout of vaccines across regional Australia,” Minister Coulton said.

“I have held regular discussions with rural health stakeholders to ensure the impacts of COVID-19 are specifically considered in a rural context. The sector has provided valuable insights and considerations to the vaccine rollout and distribution across regional Australia.

“While cases of the virus have remained low in rural areas, the rollout of the vaccine is the next key aspect of our plan to keep our communities safe.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said authorities planned to vaccinate 27,000 front line workers in Queensland over the next month, and anyone 18 years old or older would be vaccinated by the end of October.

“The month after that is when we’ll start going to the broader more population,” she said.

“No one will be missed here.”

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