Gippsland based general practices and respiratory clinics clocked up a major milestone on Friday, administering their 100,000th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This comes after it was revealed Gippsland is tracking well above the national average of doses per 100 people, with a figure of 34 per cent compared to 25, as the total number of vaccinations for the region sat at 103,282 as of Friday afternoon.
Gippsland Primary Health Network chief executive officer Amanda Proposch said this milestone serves as a fantastic result for all Gippsland clinics, with many now administering both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
“Gippsland health professionals are doing an incredible job in vaccinating our community and are an essential part of the national vaccination rollout,” Ms Proposch said.
“Our figures show that our regional vaccination ratios are exceeding the national equivalent which is an incredible effort.”
The Central Gippsland Family Practice in Moe is one of those clinics offering both versions of the vaccine, with general practitioner Dr Kingsley Rajasingham saying the demand to receive the jab has increased.
“At the beginning people were a little bit hesitant but since the lockdown a couple of months ago things have changed dramatically – at the start with the AstraZeneca we were giving 100-150 doses a week and then for the last four weeks we have started giving the Pfizer and those numbers have jumped to 300-350,” Dr Rajasingham said.
“Initially people probably thought ‘it is not going to come to Gippsland we will be fine’, but now they have realised COVID is going to be everywhere, it is not just a city thing, so since then we have had heavy demand, which is good because the lockdowns are making people realise the only way this will finish is if we get vaccinated.”
Having undertaken extensive research of the different vaccines and its effect on people, Dr Rajasingham explained the eligibility process behind receiving the jab.
“The clear thing is for anybody over 60 you are eligible for the AstraZeneca and there is no reason why you shouldn’t have it, because the clot risk is so low and if you say you want to wait for the Pfizer you will more than likely be waiting until next year,” he said.
“For people between 40-60 you are eligible for the Pfizer so there is no issue with the blood clotting, and we will make an appointment for you within a couple of weeks, anybody under 40 with the 1a or 1b eligibility can also get the Pfizer so we encourage them as well to come down and have it.
“Anyone else who is keen on the vaccine, unfortunately for them it is only the AstraZeneca available to them, so if you are in that younger age group and still want to be vaccinated come and have a talk to your local GP and we will assess the risk – and in my opinion if you balance the risks and reward I believe the benefits are far greater.”
For those people that are undecided as to whether they want to get vaccinated, he had this firm message.
“I have done a lot of research on the vaccines and to me there is just no excuse that if you are eligible for the vaccine to be sitting on the fence, because you are not doing good by yourself, your family or the community,” he said.
“The only way you can help everyone and get things back to some sort of normal is get vaccinated, so if you are eligible please go ahead and get it done because I can assure you the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.”
Gippsland will have more GP clinics administering the Pfizer from August 16, people can go online to check their eligibility and find their closest vaccinating clinic with details at https://www.gphn.org.au/covid-19-vaccine-resources/.