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24 March, 2021

COVID vaccine rolls out on Tablelands

ATHERTON Hospital began rolling out the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine last Friday to front line staff.

By Phil Brandel

The first person to be vaccinated was Yungaburra and Malanda Community nurse Rachel Bernays

ATHERTON Hospital began rolling out the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine last Friday to front line staff. Between 30 and 40 staff were expected to get the vaccination on the first day, with hospital staff expecting to be able to vaccinate up to 100 people per day once the system has been fully rolled out. 

The first people to be vaccinated was Atherton Hospital clinical nurse consultant Rachel Bernays and medical superintendent Dr Craig Fairley. 

It’s expected that GPs in Atherton will start receiving the COVID vaccine from Monday, April 5. 

Tracey Morgan, Executive Director Rural and Remote Services, said the vaccine would be rolled out to frontline health workers in Innisfail, Mossman, and Mareeba hospitals over the next few weeks. “Throughout the vaccination roll-out, we will be offering vaccination to both health care staff and community members at each remote location,” Ms Morgan said.

“We’ve got our processes and systems ready for this vaccine, and our staff will be lining up for the vaccination and showing leadership for their communities to follow suit.” 

“If people have any concerns they should speak with their GP, or they can raise it when they come in for their vaccination. We have robust systems in place to check on people once they have had the vaccination.” 

She said the vaccine would be delivered by trained immunisation teams at each site. “This is the start of phase One-B and we will initially be looking at the elderly and the venerable as well as our staff and front-line workers.” Yungaburra and Malanda Community nurse Rachel Bernays said she excited to be the first person vaccinated on the Tablelands. 

 “I’m really pleased that the rollout is finally happening on the Tablelands,” she said. “I have had lots of enquires from patients over the past few weeks who are keen to get the vaccination. “I’m a community nurse and an immunisation nurse and I’m happy to be getting the vaccine so that my family are also protected.” 

Atherton Hospital Acting Director of Nursing, Kelly Pollock said that the rollout of the vaccine was important for the protection of all Australians. “Worldwide, we have seen first hand how much of a difference vaccination against infectious diseases can make to keeping people safe and healthy,’’ she said. 

 “The COVID vaccine is free, safe, effective and is an important step to take to reduce the serious effects of COVID in people who become infected with the virus. 

 “Immunisation not only protects your own family, but also others by helping to control serious diseases in our community. 

 “It is important to continue to protect yourself and others by washing your hands often, practicing physical distancing, staying home if you are sick and getting tested if you have any symptoms.” 

 For information on how to prepare for your vaccination and what to expect, visit  

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