Santa gets his COVID-19 booster in Cairns

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Santa getting his COVID-19 booster in Cairns.

Santa getting his COVID-19 booster in Cairns.

Santa Claus is wishing Far North Queenslanders a merry 'VaX-Mas', receiving his COVID-19 booster in Cairns before he drops off presents at homes worldwide on Christmas Eve.

Jolly St Nick – who is already fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – has received his booster at the Cairns Convention Centre today, ahead of his busy Yule Tide schedule.

People aged 12 years and over are eligible for their COVID-19 booster at least six months after they received their second dose of the vaccine.

Mr Claus also spent time at the centre thanking all the hard-working elves in the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service for administering nearly 180,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since the Health Service’s vaccination program started in February.

CHHHS executive director COVID-19 vaccine program, Dr Don Mackie – who helped arrange Kris Kringle’s booster - said vaccination was the best way to protect people against the virus.

‘We thank Santa for rolling up his sleeve and rolling up to our main vaccination hub here in Cairns,’ he said.

‘Santa is likely to chalk up millions of k’s during his travels across the world, so it is vital that he is vaccinated to prevent transmission of the virus onto vulnerable people.

‘A COVID-19 outbreak due to Santa’s visit would also be a nightmare for our contact tracers.’

Dr Mackie said with the region’s vaccination rate increasing steadily towards the state-wide target of 80 per cent fully vaccinated, the Health Service would be consolidating its COVID-19 vaccinations to the Cairns Convention until late-January.

‘We have had a great deal of success in recent months with our mobile clinics,’ he said.

‘This is why we are temporarily ceasing vaccinations from our Edmonton and James Cook University Smithfield clinics, and consolidating our vaccinating activities at the Cairns Convention Centre.

‘We will still have our mobile clinics out and about where people live, work and play; and we will be able to stand up any of our CHHHS facilities for COVID-19 vaccinations if we have an outbreak.

‘But it is important that we give our vaccinating teams a well-earned break.’

CHHHS COVID-19 vaccine program director Kelly Pollock said in line with the shutdown of the Cairns South Health Facility clinic, and the JCU Smithfield campus clinic, rural hospital vaccine clinics would be temporarily closed over the holiday period.

‘Our rural hospital staff have done an exceptionally great job in vaccinating people in our rural and remote areas,’ Ms Pollock said.

‘Thanks to their efforts, we can be confident going into the holiday period that if we do have an outbreak, many vulnerable people will not be at risk from serious illness associated with a COVID-19 infection.

‘Christmas is all about gift giving, so giving our staff time off to spend with their families and friends is the best present they could ask for.’

CHHHS COVID-19 vaccine clinic closure dates

  • Cairns Convention Centre - 25-29 December – closed – reopening on 30 December
  • Cairns South Health Facility (Edmonton) - 12 December – closed until further notice
  • JCU Smithfield campus - 12 December – closed until further notice
  • Atherton Hospital - 22 December – closed – reopening 6 January
  • Innisfail Hospital - 10 December – closed – reopening 6 January
  • Mareeba Hospital - 18 December – closed – reopening 6 January
  • Mossman Multi-Purpose Health Facility - 21 December – closed, reopening 6 January
  • Mobile pop-up clinics - 21 December – closed – reopening 4 January

For your nearest clinic, including opening hours, head to