ACT’s vaccine rollout turns one | The Canberra Times

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The concept of time in a COVID era has been warped for many of us – and for registered nurse Nikoletta Karagiannidis, delivering the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for the ACT exactly 12 months ago feels like yesterday. She feels proud to have been a part of the program that, on its first birthday, has delivered almost one million doses of the vaccine to Canberrans. “I feel very grateful and proud to have been representing ACT Health,” she said. “Getting to be a part of the opportunity has been really great.” Canberra remains one of the most highly vaccinated jurisdictions in the world: 98.6 per cent of ACT residents over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated, and 65.3 per cent have received their booster dose. A total of 77.6 per cent of children aged between five and 11 have received their first dose. This follows the ACT government’s latest push to vaccinate children, where healthcare workers dressed up in their best superhero outfits for Superhero Saturday, encouraging kids to get their vaccine. It drew one of the largest crowds workers at the mass vaccination clinic had seen in a long time. Canberra Health Services chief operating officer Cathie O’Neill said that the walk-in service would continue to cater to those seeking to have their children vaccinated. “With the walk-ins, we’re starting to see more kids come forward when it’s more convenient for them,” she said. “We’ll also continue to do some of our in-reach programs, which help us get vaccines to people where it is hard for them to access us.” The continuation of the booster program remains a key priority for the ACT government, particularly as Canberra eases restrictions and moves towards the winter months. A slight lull in the uptake of booster doses across the ACT remains a concern to health authorities. Canberrans were reminded that even if they have had COVID, they should still receive a booster dose. Streamlining the COVID-19 vaccine roll out into the ACT’s existing immunization schedule is something that Ms O’Neill had hoped would have already taken place, but said capacity within the primary health care system wouldn’t allow for it just yet. ,[With] the way that we need to get vaccines into people’s arms quickly, we can’t really expect the supply chain and capacity in primary health care to do that,” she said. “We will need to continue to play a role – what that looks like, we’ll wait and see.” For all the turbulence of the past year, Tuesday remained a celebration for the hard work of healthcare staff across the ACT who have worked tirelessly to deliver the vaccine roll out.” [the program] up 12 months ago, we had no idea how long it was going to go for, and there were a lot of unknowns,” Ms O’Neill said. “But we’ve risen to every challenge, and we are so proud that we are the most vaccinated city in the world.” Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT is free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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