Feb

23

COVID-19 Vaccinations Begin on North Coast

The first Pfizer/BioNTech vaccinations on the NSW North Coast will begin this week at 15 residential aged care facilities (RACFs) — seven in Ballina/Alstonville and eight in Port Macquarie.

As we are seeing in other parts of Australia, and, indeed, across the globe, the availability of the first COVID-19 vaccines in our region is a welcome start to the vaccination program that will help to safeguard our communities against the continuing threat of COVID-19.

This coincides with today’s announcements about easing restrictions in RACFS:

  • NSW residents, staff and visitors no longer need to wear masks in RACFs.
  • In regional NSW, there are no longer any restrictions on visitor numbers.
  • Residents can leave the facility for outings such as medical appointments or to visit locations in the community such as shops and cafes.
  • In all cases, as for the general community, people should still comply with social distancing, hygiene requirements, providing contact tracing details, and restricting contact with those who have been in COVID-19 hotspots or who have symptoms.

Supporting Local Media (Phase 1a RACFs)

This is an exciting week in the fight against COVID-19 and our continued efforts to protect some of the most vulnerable in our community.

With our local RACFs focusing on vaccination preparedness and support for their residents and health workforce, Healthy North Coast is now acting as a coordination point for media enquiries and interviews for the Commonwealth’s RACF vaccination program. This is an evolving situation and changes are expected, but we will continue to provide information as is comes to hand.

Please note, the majority of RACFs do not wish to be contacted by media this week as they prepare for the start of their vaccination rollout and are supporting their residents, families and staff. See below information for planned media event tomorrow.

Healthy North Coast is in contact with some local RACFs, such as Garden Village Port Macquarie, who can share this good news story and provide media content.

Garden Village Port Macquarie

Healthcare Australia’s clinical workforce is scheduled to deliver vaccines to Garden Village Port Macquarie on Saturday 27 February, with residents expected to receive vaccinations over the weekend.

Garden Village are really pleased to be commencing their vaccination program of over 130 aged care residents. Garden Village and their dedicated staff are supporting their residents — and their families, carers or decision makers — to make informed decisions about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Upcoming Media Event @ Garden Village

Ahead of the scheduled vaccine delivery, Healthy North Coast is supporting Garden Village to host a media event this week — Wednesday 24 February @ 10am — and media are invited to attend.

Access to the facility will be restricted to the event area, and only pre-identified spokespeople will be available to speak to the media.

An aged care resident who is planning to have the vaccine will be speaking.

Media attending the event are invited to submit two questions to Healthy North Coast’s media team by 5pm today, Tuesday February 23. A selection of these questions will be put to the resident by the event MC. There will be no further opportunity to interview the resident.

However, a family member and several RACF staff members will be available for interview afterwards.

Please do not contact Garden Village directly ahead of the media event. All enquiries and questions for the resident should be directed to Healthy North Coast: [email protected]

A second follow-up media event is also being considered for the following week (TBC).


Planning for the Future Rollout Phases — Data Projections

Healthy North Coast has analysed population health data and primary care availability to assess the service provision required to support Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Roadmap. We are using this modelling to assess areas of high need and advise the Australian Government on recommended priority areas.

The modelling incorporates:

  • Population health and geographic data matched to each phase
  • Practice data supplied in the recent EOI process
  • Provider availability such as the addition of GP respiratory clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and pharmacists.

In summary:

  • As shown in Figure 1, the most populous LGA is Tweed Heads with 94,857 residents, followed by Port Macquarie-Hastings with 81,404 residents.
  • Analysis of the North Coast regional population data in Figure 3 shows Nambucca Valley and Port Macquarie-Hastings LGAs have the highest proportion of over 65-year-olds. 27 per cent of all residents in these areas are aged over 65, compared with a regional average of 23 per cent.
  • When combining population size and age distribution, both Port Macquarie and Tweed Heads are the highest volume centres for aged populations.
  • As shown in Figure 4, across the North Coast region, the highest population requirement for vaccine delivery by phase will be Phase 2a.

These summary points are based on the below Healthy North Coast data analysis.

Figure 1: At a glance:

North Coast

Australia

Median age

47

37

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

5%

3%

Over 65

24%

16%

Under 14

17%

19%

 

Figure 2: North Coast populations by LGA:

LGA

Population

Tweed Valley

94,857

Port Macquarie-Hastings

81,404

Coffs Harbour

75,503

Clarence Valley

51,570

Lismore

43,905

Ballina

43,457

Byron

33,987

Kempsey

29,534

Richmond Valley

23,317

Nambucca Valley

19,688

Bellingen

12,946

Kyogle

8,979

 

Figure 3: North Coast percentage of population who are over 65 years of age by LGA:

LGA

% of population over 65

Port Macquarie-Hastings

27%

Nambucca Valley

27%

Clarence Valley

25%

Ballina

25%

Tweed Valley

25%

Kempsey

23%

Bellingen

23%

Kyogle

23%

Richmond Valley

22%

Coffs Harbour

21%

Lismore

18%

Byron

17%

 

Figure 4: North Coast population size relating to the Commonwealth’s vaccination program phases:

Phases

North Coast

Australia-wide

People

Region %

People

Region %

1a

20,663

4%

678,000

3%

1b

133,260

26%

6,139,000

24%

2a

179,515

35%

6,570,000

26%

2b

82,467

16%

6,643,000

26%

3

103,242

20%

5,670,000

22%

Media Interviews

Healthy North Coast can assist with coordinating media interviews this week with the following spokespeople.

  • Julie Sturgess, CEO, Healthy North Coast
  • Monika Wheeler, Executive Director, Healthy North Coast
  • Dr Brett Lynam, General Practitioner
  • Craig Wearne, CEO, Garden Village Port Macquarie
  • Garden Village resident and staff as part of the planned Wednesday 24/2 media event (as above).

Media Enquiries

  • For more information about the delivery of vaccines to frontline health workers, contact NSW Health.
  • All other media enquiries can be directed to Healthy North Coast’s Media Team.

Contact for more Information

Zoe Satherley (Mon-Wed)

Phone: 0428 623 093

Mike Hely (Wed-Fri)

Phone: 0437 978 473

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