A vaccination clinic will be set up in Mudgee on the weekend of September 18 for all school children aged 12 and above, in an effort to facilitate a to return to school and face to face learning for the region's students.
Bookings can be made from 1pm Monday, September 6 by calling the Mudgee Vaccine Clinic on 6362 4031 or South Mudgee Surgery on 6372 4355.
"We'll have approximately 500 vaccines a day, there's lot to go around. I suspect a few children have already had their first doses with the ADF clinics or the respective town clinics, but there's still lots more to go around and we'll get more if we need to," Dr Alex Ghanem said on Monday.
Last week an emergency supply of 1000 Pfizer vaccines was ordered from Canberra by the Mudgee GP Respiratory Clinic. Doctors are expected on site at the weekend clinic to answer any questions parents might have.
Dr Ghanem confirmed on Friday, September 3 that in addition to the doses coming for children, an additional 60 appointments will be opened up from next week for teachers and supermarket workers in the region.
Last week a text message was sent to workers of all mine sites in the region notifying them of an agreement which allowed them to receive a vaccine this weekend gone.
"We've been contacting the local supermarkets to ensure that their staff can actually obtain an appointment, because we recognise they're often a hot spot when there is COVID in the community, because as we're all aware, there's one place we all visit and that is a supermarket," Dr Ghanem said.
"...In ensuing weeks we'll be reaching out to other groups such as childcare workers, but at this stage it's the school teachers, school students and the supermarket workers that we'll be reaching out to. But specifically we'll be having that weekend clinic for the first school students in the next few weeks."
Dr Ghanem estimated that more than 12,000 vaccines have been given out in the region since the respiratory clinic opened up and that number has been bolstered by the pop-up clinics in our town over the last week.
"I think we're very lucky in a community like this where we've got access to a number of different avenues to actually obtain a vaccine," he said. "We mustn't forget the great work that the chemists are doing."
"At Gulgong Pharmacy Harriet's doing a great job there and she's vaccinating - she's doing a lot of hard work and I believe the pharmacists are on board at Rylstone and Kandos so well done done to everyone.
"Doctor Ali's been doing a great job at Kandos, he's done heaps of vaccines close to 1000 I believe, which is fantastic.
"It's been a really huge community effort. It's been terrific."
Dr Ghanem stressed the importance of, especially as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, as many people in the community getting vaccinated as possible as the virus is expected to spread further.
"As we come out of lockdown and as people resume some sort of normality we expect the virus to circulate in the community, we only need to look at the data that's coming out of Sydney," he said.
"In terms of hospitalisations, particularly ICU admissions, nearly every single patient in ICU has either been unvaccinated or had one vaccine. And that is incredibly telling and - if that doesn't convince you, I'm not really sure what we'll do at the stage.
"There's an enormous number of young people in ICU and the virus may not necessarily kill you, but a prolonged ICU admission, followed by case post COVID syndrome. It doesn't sound like a really pleasant thing to have. So I'd strongly encourage the community to get on and get vaccinated."
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