'Vax van' heads west

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Queensland Health staff standing in front of the mobile COVID-19 vaccination van.

Queensland Health staff standing in front of the mobile COVID-19 vaccination van.

A dedicated van for delivering the COVID-19 vaccine will be touring rural and remote parts of the Far North from next week.

The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has hired a motorhome, which has been fitted out with specialised equipment, to vaccinate up to 150 people per day.

The vehicle, dubbed the “COVan”, will be touring communities to provide COVID-19 protection in the Gulf Savanna, Daintree, and western Tablelands regions during the next couple of months.

It will be delivering the COVID-19 vaccine to staff at the Health Service’s rural and remote clinics, and eligible community members.

CHHHS executive director of rural and remote services, Tracey Morgan, said it was exciting to be able to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to the more remote parts of the region.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a nurse in a small, rural clinic or a ringer on a cattle station,” she said.

“When it comes to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all in this together.

“Vaccination can save thousands, if not millions of lives and the COVID-19 vaccine is still the best way to protect against this severe disease.

“When Australia’s international borders re-open, it is vital that our region – with its International Airport and dependence on tourism, agriculture and mining – that our community is protected.”

CHHHS COVID-19 vaccination program director Kylie Mayo said a team of up to six staff members, including a doctor, nurses, pharmacist and administration officer would be travelling onboard the COVan to each scheduled destination.

She said at each location, the COVan would be operated as a walk-in clinic, whereby no appointments would be necessary for eligible people for vaccinations.

“The vaccination will be delivered by trained immunisation teams to each unique community in an outreach model,” she said.

“Our immunisation team will visit certain communities in a scheduled rotation to deliver the two doses required, to ensure everyone has access to the vaccine.

“We will keep our communities informed about vaccination clinic locations and times.”

She said vaccination was recommended and encouraged.

“Anyone in our rural and remote communities, including those who are 18 years and over, will have access to a free, safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.

“This includes all residents, visitors, visa holders, FIFO workers and health staff.”

To find out your eligibility and nearest vaccination location, visit