Latest Developments: North Coast COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Healthy North Coast, the local organisation delivering the Australian Government’s PHN program, is helping to coordinate parts of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in our region.

As details of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccination program continue to develop, Healthy North Coast is:

  • working with local general practices to prepare for future stages of the rollout,
  • supporting residential aged care facilities with timely information, and
  • planning support for our communities that encourages our region to be informed and involved.

Phase 1a — Residents of Aged Care Facilities Will Start Receiving Vaccinations 

The Australian Government is ensuring those who are particularly vulnerable to the worst effects of the COVID-19 virus receive the earliest protection, so priority is being given to older people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs).

This first phase of the vaccination program using Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine and being delivered by Healthcare Australia is set to start next week — including on the North Coast — and the Department of Health is supporting RACF staff to prepare. An information and readiness toolkit has been sent to RACFs to help those who will be part of this early-stage rollout.

Healthy North Coast is supporting Mid North Coast and Northern NSW RACFs, who continue to benefit from the local network connections established as part of the early 2020 COVID-19 pandemic response. The latest information and resources are being shared across the network so that North Coast RACF residents continue to receive the best care and support throughout the pandemic response.

Phase 1a media enquiries:

  • Vaccination rollout to RACFs is being managed centrally by the Australian Government, which has today announced the first locations — please contact [email protected] or phone (02) 6289 7400 for related media enquiries
  • Vaccination rollout to frontline health care worker subgroups for prioritisation is being managed by NSW Health — please contact them directly for related media enquiries.

Phase 1b — Limited Number of General Practices Will Provide Vaccination Clinics    

General practices selected to participate in Phase 1b of the rollout, scheduled to commence in March with the TGA provisionally approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, will play a critical role in protecting North Coast residents against the COVID-19 virus.

Over 50 per cent of all accredited North Coast general practices recently submitted an EOI to be a part of this first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Initially, only a small number of general practices will participate in providing large-scale vaccination clinics. In consultation with Healthy North Coast, the Australian Government’s Department of Health will select practices based on key criteria including, but not limited to, location, population coverage and access, readiness and service infrastructure.

The Government has indicated that over time all accredited general practices will have the opportunity to provide the vaccine. The majority of general practices that have expressed interest to support the vaccination rollout program will commence vaccination from Phase 2 onwards.

Established GP-run respiratory clinics, which have played a critical role in providing local COVID-19 assessment and testing, and Aboriginal health services and pharmacies will also participate in the vaccination program’s future stages.

Assessing North Coast Need 

Through local data modelling, Healthy North Coast has analysed population health information and primary care service availability to help plan for the local delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination program. This modelling helps to assess our areas of high need and provides evidence for recommending priority areas.

Healthy North Coast’s modelling incorporates:

  • Population health and geographic data matched to each phase of the vaccine roadmap
  • General practice data supplied in the recent EOI process
  • Provider availability such as the addition of GP respiratory clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and pharmacies.

Staying COVID Safe Is as Important as Ever 

Healthy North Coast supports the Australian Government’s staged vaccination strategy that’s designed around limited vaccine availability and the prioritisation of high-risk groups and regions of need.

While the Australian COVID-19 vaccination program is starting next week, with the first supply of vaccines being distributed as part of Phase 1a, it will be months before everyone in our region will access vaccines.

Healthy North Coast CEO Julie Sturgess emphasises the importance of maintaining hygiene practices, physical distancing and testing for COVID-19 throughout 2021.

“As the COVID-19 vaccination program gets set to start, and despite the relatively low numbers of local cases we’ve experienced in our region, we can’t let our guard down,” Ms Sturgess said.

“We need to remain vigilant about preventing the spread of the virus. If you’re experiencing even mild symptoms, make sure you get tested early at one of our local testing centres,” Ms Sturgess added.

North Coast health professionals and community members are encouraged to sign up to Healthy North Coast’s regular emails for the latest COVID-19 information and updates on the local vaccination rollout: hnc.org.au/subscribe 

Media Enquiries 

  • Media enquiries relating to the delivery of the Phase 1a COVID-19 vaccine in residential aged care facilities should be made to the Department of Health, telephone (02) 6289 7400 or email [email protected] 
  • For more information about the Phase 1a 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

Mike Hely

Phone: 0437 978 473

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