Communities in Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) have continued to prove their commitment to fighting COVID-19, once again reaching a major vaccination target ahead of the state-wide figure.
The Australian Immunisation Register’s (AIR) latest data revealed that in WNSWLHD, to Sunday 5 December, 95.4 per cent of residents aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated – above the state-wide figure of 92.8 per cent.
Mark Spittal, WNSWLHD Acting Chief Executive, said reaching the milestone is a wonderful result and is testament to the efforts of staff, partner agencies and organisations, volunteers and the community across the District.
“Everyone involved in the vaccination effort across the District so far has shown what can be achieved when regional, rural and remote communities work together against a threat like the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Spittal said.
“It has been a monumental undertaking so far and reaching 95 per cent fully vaccinated is a significant achievement when you consider the geographical distances and supply challenges faced across our footprint.
“Our vaccination team has thrown everything into this effort and taken an innovative and flexible approach, often leading the way in NSW to make sure our communities had access to vaccines close to home.
“It has also been a coordinated joint effort involving a huge number of government and community partners so we must thank them all for their dedication. The community response has also been wonderful, thank you.
“But we can’t afford to think we’ve done enough, there are still three Local Government Areas in our District that are yet to hit 90 per cent fully vaccinated – Cobar (78 per cent), Brewarrina (78.8 per cent) and Walgett (87.8 per cent).
“So we must continue our efforts, because we don’t want anyone in our District left behind.”
Mr Spittal said the importance of vaccination, and COVID-safe behaviours, is highlighted by the prevalence of COVID-19 transmission between children not yet eligible for a vaccine.
“We have seen a lot of transmission occurring between children aged under 12. In the most-recent outbreak, almost 25 per cent of the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been kids under 10,” Mr Spittal said.
“That is one reason it is so important everyone who is eligible has full protection from vaccination, particularly as we move towards the holiday season, a time of year we all want to spend with loved ones.
“As movement increases around the District so too will the risk of COVID-19 spreading and for many people, loved ones include grandparents or people in more vulnerable areas of our communities.
“Vaccination is our best protection against transmission and serious illness if transmission does occur, so I’m urging anyone who hasn’t yet taken the step to get vaccinated to do so as a priority. Make sure you return for your second dose, a third dose if required and your booster shots when you’re eligible, and stay up-to-date with eligibility changes.
“Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is a responsibility that now falls on all of us as individuals so making COVID-safe behaviours part of our daily routines will make a huge difference.
“Wash and sanitise your hands regularly, wear masks wherever necessary and check in and out wherever you go as long as that is a requirement and, importantly, only do what you feel safe and comfortable doing.
“If you or anyone in your household feels unwell don’t go to work, school or social events, go and get tested as a priority. Get tested if you have any concerns at all.”
Vaccination is available at all WNSWLHD’s hubs and community clinics, along with GPs, pharmacies, Aboriginal Medical Services and respiratory clinics.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccination or to book an appointment visit the WNSWLHD website or the Commonwealth Government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder.