By Dr Louisa Tatton
We still have a way to go
SUNNY days, wattle bloom and the increased activity of magpies on the rail trail seems to suggest spring is finally on its way. I’m getting out my hay fever tablets (has there ever been a more antisocial time to have a sniffle?) and decorating my helmet so I can start riding to work without fear of swoops. And here we are still in lockdown. Some of us relish the time to get things done at home but we also know lockdown brings with it challenges for many people.
Despite being asked to distance ourselves physically, we are frequently reminded of the ways in which our community still manages to care for each other in these difficult times. The delivery of cakes, home produce and warm smiles to the clinic means the caring always feels it goes both ways. Eggs delivered to a doctor’s desk, welcome presents on a front porch or the six “hello!”-s we receive on the way to pick up the post reminds us why we chose rural life.
And now data released this week shows how we are all caring for each other in new ways – by getting vaccinated against Covid-19.
The map pictured above draws your eye to an area of noticeably different shade of purple. That’s us! And it represents the fact that the Foster postcode is leading the way in Gippsland for vaccinations provided by general practice. Beyond Foster itself our other catchment postcodes of Port Welshpool, Fish Creek, and Toora also make it into the top five. In another table we have seen it appears that of our most vulnerable 70+ population a remarkable 95% have had at least one vaccine and 49% of our total eligible adult population are fully vaccinated. This reflects the willingness of our community to come together to look after each other and the tireless work of our hard-working clinic staff to deliver hundreds of vaccines each day while still keeping our usual health service running.
We still have a way to go and in line with the national and state programs we continue to expand availability of vaccines to the community. Everyone over 16, including pregnant and breastfeeding mums, are now eligible for a vaccine, along with 12-16 yo who meet special criteria-please contact the clinic to book in, have a look at the online eligibility checker or speak to your doctor if you have questions.
Alongside our vaccination program, following the public health orders remains the best way to keep our community safe and this includes making sure you get tested and stay home if you have ANY symptoms, even if you think it might ‘just be a cold’. With increasing numbers of children getting the new strain of covid-19 it’s a timely reminder that even young children with coughs and runny noses should be tested. While thankfully kids are much less likely to get very sick with Covid-19, testing provides us the only way to know if the virus ever visits us down here and will help us keep parents and grandparents safe too.
Please remember that if you or your child need to see a doctor but have respiratory symptoms, this can still happen in our respiratory clinic at the back of the clinic. Providing good medical care to our patients remains our priority.
If it feels like all we talk about is Covid -19 and you’re wondering if the world might be turning a little slower these days, we hear you! Don’t forget your routine medical care is still important too. And we all need to remember to take care of our general health and wellbeing at this time. Exercise (within the lockdown rules), sunshine (when it’s here!) and time outside, good work-life balance, regular contact with loved ones (thanks facetime/zoom!) and time out from the news and social media-these are what we recommend. I’m looking forward to time ahead when the weather is warmer and vaccine rates mean we can add a swim in the ocean, a barbeque with friends or a sleep over at grandma’s to the prescription.