No NSW vaccine hubs north of Coffs

The elderly and front line medical staff in northern NSW are hoping Queensland may allow access to the first rollout of COVID-19 jabs after it was revealed no vaccination hubs will be placed north of Coffs Harbour.

The phase 1A rollout of COVID vaccines later this month will be the Pfizer vaccine which, due to its refrigeration requirements of minus 70 degree Celsius, will be offered out of hospital hubs.

NSW Health has announced hubs at major hospitals including Royal Prince Alfred, Westmead, Liverpool, Hornsby, St George, Nepean, John Hunter in Newcastle, Wollongong, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo and Wagga Wagga.

Nationals Tweed MP Geoff Provost said he was concerned for medical staff in the north of the state as well as the elderly population as Coffs Harbour was three to four hours away.

However, the Queensland government has announced the Gold Coast University Hospital will be a Pfizer hub which is only 20 minutes away from the Tweed.

"We have 27 per cent up here over the age of 65, so do we go to Queensland to get vaccinated or will the Queensland Premier say Queensland hospitals are for Queenslanders like she did last year," he said.

Dr Chris Ingall.
Dr Chris Ingall.

Dr Chris Ingall, chair of the Clinical Heads of Department at Lismore Base Hospital said it 'defies logic' that the north of the state was neglected.

"We were surprised and disappointed. It makes little or no sense to not have Lismore included in the hubs. I am concerned we will be second or third cab off the rank," Dr Ingall said.

A good proportion of frontline staff at Tweed Hospital live in Queensland and Queensland Health confirmed they would only vaccinate those working in Queensland hospitals.

A spokesman for the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt expressed disappointment in Queensland's response.

RPA hospital will be a vaccine hub. Photo Jeremy Piper
RPA hospital will be a vaccine hub. Photo Jeremy Piper

 

"From a commonwealth perspective, this is a national rollout and there should be no barriers put in place by any state to the support of health care workers in their hospitals.

Justine Elliot, the Federal Member for Richmond, said she had concerns for the elderly in her electorate.

NSW Health announced that "once more vaccine doses become available from Phase 1B, it is expected that one or more COVID-19 vaccines will be available for the wider population through usual immunisation providers, including GP practices, GP respiratory clinics and Aboriginal health services."

Originally published as No NSW vaccine hubs north of Coffs

Richmond MP Justine Elliot
Richmond MP Justine Elliot


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