THE dual challenges of providing both the influenza and the COVID vaccines to the community continues to absorb a lot of our time and effort.
Uptake of the flu shot has been pretty good; it is a vaccine that people have had each year for many years and feel comfortable and familiar with. We have now run 3 of 5 Saturday drive-through flu clinics at the Foster Secondary School and have seen 2-300 people each time. Fortunately the weather has not been like last year-indeed we were more concerned with sunburn last Saturday!
We have continued to give COVID vaccinations to those in stage 1b of the national rollout. From May 1 we have started to vaccinate all those over 50, stage 2a.
The uptake certainly suffered with the headlines of the thrombosis risk and a hesitancy to be vaccinated has replaced the initial excitement we detected at the start of the rollout. The COVID vaccines have been given to upward of 600 million people world-wide and are both safe and effective. There is a risk but it is a very small risk. As a result of not having rampant COVID locally, we can err on concentrating on this small risk and lose sight of the fact that vaccinations represent our best chance of containing the effects of the virus. The virus is not going to always be non-existent in Australia and unless the vast majority of us are vaccinated then it will always have the potential to cause medical chaos.
To book an appointment for the COVID vaccine please either ring the clinic or go to health.gov.au and the Vaccine Eligibility Checker. This will lead you to the nearest vaccine provider and the Foster Respiratory Clinic details. We have now opened up appointments on Thursdays that can be booked through the online HotDoc service.For flu shots there are still spaces available for people over 65 on the following two Saturdays. For everyone else please ring and make an appointment with our nurses.