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Western NSW setting an example for COVID-19 vaccination

26 October 2021

​The communities of Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) are showing the rest of the state how it’s done, with some of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in NSW.

The latest data from the Australian Immunisation Register revealed that, to 24 October, WNSWLHD’s second-dose vaccination rate for those aged 12-15 was the highest in the state at 68.1 per cent – well above the state-wide figure of 51.3 per cent.

The second dose vaccination rate for those aged over 16 years in WNSWLHD was 87.2 per cent, among the highest of any Local Health District and also above the overall state figure of 84.1 per cent.

WNSWLHD Chief Executive Scott McLachlan said he is extremely proud of both the District’s vaccination team and communities for showing up in such high numbers to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.

“Our Local Health District has a strong history when it comes to vaccination, so I’m not overly surprised to see the communities stepping up again to protect themselves in this way, but to see it happen so quickly is still really pleasing,” Mr McLachlan said.

“In just the last few months our vaccination teams have visited more than 75 communities, across a geographical area approximately the size of the United Kingdom.

“In metropolitan centres most people would likely find several COVID-19 vaccination providers within five or ten minutes of their home, but in many of the remote parts of our district a provider might be several hours away.

“Our team has been very dedicated and creative to make sure vaccine was accessible to as many people as possible and as close to their home as possible.

“It’s been an enormous undertaking amidst some really challenging circumstances, with huge distances, fluctuations in vaccine supply and the strain of the Delta outbreak in our region.

“The vaccination team has thrown everything at this effort, taking multiple approaches to meet the needs of different parts of our community. They’ve often led the way for NSW Health by delivering innovative ways to provide vaccination, including having the first drive-through vaccination clinic and mobile vax vans for the state.

Mr McLachlan also acknowledged the efforts of partners in delivering vaccine to Western NSW, particularly the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“The support of the ADF over the last ten weeks has been phenomenal and we could not have achieved these vaccination rates so quickly without them,” he said.

“Our partnership with the ADF will officially come to an end this Friday and I know all our communities would join me in thanking them for working with us through this very difficult time.”

Since the first dose of vaccine was administered on 21st March 2021, WNSWLHD have so far given more than 115,000 doses across the district. Vaccine delivery continues at permanent clinics in Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange, as well as via mobile clinics reaching out to other communities.

“As the state continues to open up and tourists return to regional NSW in the coming weeks and months, it’s never been more important to ensure we vaccinate as many people as possible across our region,” Mr McLachlan said.

“We know how effective vaccination is in reducing the risk of both contracting and transmitting COVID-19, along with stopping people getting very sick and needing hospital care. We’ve seen how this has been the case in our own backyard as we’ve fought the Delta outbreak in Western NSW.

“So I urge everyone in the community who hasn’t done so already to come forward for vaccination.

“While the figures so far are great, and definitely something to be proud of, I want to see our entire District well above 90 per cent fully vaccinated. So please, make the effort to get vaccinated through a WNSWLHD clinic, a GP, pharmacy, Aboriginal Medical Service or respiratory clinic.

“If you know anyone who is eligible but hasn’t yet been vaccinated, please encourage them to go and do so, we all have a responsibility to keep each other safe.”

For more information on COVID-19 vaccination or to book an appointment visit the Commonwealth Government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder.