Hundreds of older locals get AstraZenica jabs
MORE than 730 people have received the AstraZenica Covid-19 vaccine in Toodyay since a statewide rollout for mostly older residents started locally in March.
Doses of the Pfizer vaccine for younger residents are yet to be available locally.
A total of 205 mostly older Toodyay residents have received their second dose of AstraZenica at Toodyay’s Alma Beard Medical Centre and are now fully vaccinated.
Toodyay resident Dennis Toop (right) was the first local person to receive an AstraZenica jab at the medical centre last March.Read more
The Wheatbelt Health Network (WHN) says it ordered a total of 1100 AstraZenica doses for Toodyay this year, with 270 shots now ready for immediate use, and a further 100 due to arrive early this month.
Tough State Government restrictions have helped stop the virus spreading in WA but the highly infectious Delta variant has spread rapidly through Sydney’s densely populated west and south-west suburbs and shopping centres.
AstraZenica Australia President Liz Chatwin told ABC Radio this month that two shots of AstraZenica were 92 per cent effective in keeping people out of hospital.
Mass vaccination was critical because even people showing no symptoms could still easily transmit the highly contagious Delta strain to others in the workplace and at home.
She said about 12 million Australians had been vaccinated, including 6.3 million with AstraZenica.
However, medical authorities say they are concerned at the slow take-up rate in WA where only 37 per cent of aged care workers had received their first dose at the end of last month compared with 51 per cent nationally.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned at the end of last month that more people will become seriously ill and some may die as Australia’s biggest city remains locked down and businesses forced to shut down until at least August 28.
Toodyay residents aged 50 or older are now eligible to receive the AstraZenica vaccine under a recent lowering of the age for which it can be given.
A national census in 2016 found that nearly a third of all Toodyay’s 4439 residents were aged 65 or older – a globally high-risk group for Covid-19 infection.
WA health authorities recommend the Pfizer vaccine for people aged 30 to 49, though it is not yet available in Toodyay.
AstraZeneca can be provided to people in that age group if their suitability is assessed by a qualified health professional and written or verbal consent is provided by the recipient.
Vaccination reduces the risk of serious illness or death in all age groups.
However, health authorities say they are not certain how long the protection lasts and are urging all vaccinated people to continue to maintain social distancing of at least 1.5m, keep washing or disinfecting their hands and maintain other Covid-safe behaviour.
WHN Acting CEO David Singe said Toodyay doctors had been unable to obtain the Pfizer vaccine for younger local people but he hoped supplies would arrive in the next round of the national vaccine rollout.
He commended Toodyay’s older residents for getting vaccinated with AstraZenica and said delivery of supplies appeared to be progressing smoothly.
“The national focus is clearly focussing more intensely on the importance of being vaccinated, regardless of variants,” Mr Singe said.
“Border management by the WA Government provides the ideal opportunity to have the protection without the immediate concern of active cases in the community.”