Aged care residents on the Fleurieu Peninsula have received their COVID-19 vaccinations and now it's time for the first groups of the wider public to get their jab.
Starting on Monday, March 22, various medical centres across the region will be able to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to members of the public who fall under Phase 1b of the federal government's planned roll out.
Under the new phase, some groups of people are eligible to receive the vaccine. This includes:
- Healthcare workers currently employed and not included in Phase 1a
- Indigenous Australians over 55 years
- Anyone over 70 years
- Have a BMI of over 40
- Have a specific chronic illness
- Anyone receiving cancer treatment
- Anyone over 18 years with an underlying medical condition, including disability
- Critical and high risk works currently employed
On the Fleurieu, sites that will be open for the vaccinations are Goolwa Medical Centre, Strathalbyn Medical Clinic, Victor Medical Centre, Aldinga Medical Centre, Aldinga Day and Night Surgery, and McLaren Vale Family Practice.
Goolwa Medical Centre practice manager Sandy Merkx said the centre opened appointments for vaccinations on Tuesday, March 16 and made bookings for 900 people on that day alone.
"With many of our patients fitting within the Phase 1b roll out, it is important that we are able to provide the service," she said.
"Unfortunately, COVID is not going away unless we take responsibility to stop the spread."
The centre will receive 400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine each week, and will be open for 6.5 hours per week for vaccinations.
"Our COVID clinics will be outside of usual business hours, commencing at 5.30pm on allocated days and Saturday afternoons," she said.
"It's a very busy practice; having the clinic during standard consulting hours would have too much of an impact on our patients needing general appointments."
She said staff had completed training and were keen to get the roll out underway.
"The basic plan is for patients to receive their vaccination and they will then be placed in the observation area for the appropriate time. After vaccination information and second appointments will also be provided and confirmed," she said.
Victor Medical Centre chief executive officer Richard Pierce said the centre's rollout will initially be based at Port Elliot Medical Clinic, where 450 doses will arrive per week to start with.
"We are receiving a very large volume of enquiries and bookings now so everyone needs to be patient. We are trying to prioritise the most vulnerable patients first," he said.
He urged people to check they were eligible for the vaccine as the phones at both sites were running hot.
"Clinics are for delivery of the vaccine only, if patients are unsure or have questions they need to make a regular appointment to discuss with their GP," he said.
To check your eligibility, visit https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility
To book in for your vaccine, visit your local medical centre's website (preferred) or give them a call.