The best way to get a Pfizer vaccine appointment in the Nambucca Valley

 

LOCALS are being urged to check the Nambucca Healthcare Centre website for Pfizer appointment availability or download the HOTDOC app to receive alerts about new appointments opening up “rather than clogging up the phone lines with enquiries”, as demand for the vaccine continues to outpace supply in the Valley.

Sheree Smith, Practice Manager at Nambucca Healthcare Centre, which administers Covid-19 vaccines through Nambucca Respiratory Clinic, said all current Pfizer stock had been allocated at the time of this issue going to print and appointments will only be reopened once new stock has arrived.

“We opened over 100 new appointments for first doses during August just last week.

“We are due another delivery of 420 next week, half of which will be reserved for second doses,” she said, adding that stock was delivered roughly every fortnight and “new appointments can open up at any time when a delivery of stock is received”.

Current wait times for appointments may be eased after the federal government announced on August 5 that an additional 180,000 Pfizer vaccines would be provided to New South Wales, including 20,000 earmarked to replenish stocks in rural areas that had been redirected to Sydney in a bid to get year-12 students in the epicentre of the current outbreak back to face-to-face learning.

Prior to the federal government announcement, the redirection of vaccines had led to appointments being cancelled at state-supplied vaccination hubs, such as the one at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

“We are … concerned that we may have been indirectly affected by the cancellations by NSW Health in Coffs Harbour, by way of those patients (residents of Coffs Harbour) seeking vaccinations outside of their usual area, and making bookings at our clinic instead.

“If that is the case the recent reinstatement of the Coffs Harbour supply should see an ease in any effect on our booking availability,” Smith said.

In addition to delivering more than 4,500 vaccinations since April, the Nambucca Healthcare Centre team has been assisting with meeting demand for Covid-19 testing that saw “a dramatic increase” in response to the exposure scare in Coffs Harbour in late July before dropping off briefly and ramping up again following the recent lockdowns in areas such as Newcastle, Armidale and Byron Bay.

“We have further improved our processes and our staff have yet again put in more effort to ensure our vaccination services are not affected and we can continue to push towards higher immunisation rates to protect against further exposures, and therefore testing surges,” Smith said.

“(Vaccine) uptake has been excellent in our community and we would like to thank everyone for stepping up to protect each other as well as the community as a whole.”

Other GP clinics in or close to the Nambucca Valley offering Pfizer vaccines include Star Street Medical Centre in Macksville, which is currently only offering appointments to its own patients and frontline workers, Urunga Medical Centre and North Bellingen Medical Centre.

To check availability for Pfizer vaccine appointments at Nambucca Respiratory Clinic, visit nambuccahealthcarecentre.com.au/book-online or download the HOTDOC app, which has a feature that allows users to be alerted as soon as there is availability for an appointment.

To discuss a group vaccination booking for an organisation or workplace, email [email protected].

 

By Brooke LEWIS

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