Wait times for Pfizer vaccination bookings in the Nambucca Valley are set to “drop significantly” as supply increases over September and October


WAIT times for Pfizer vaccination bookings in the Nambucca Valley are set to “drop significantly” as the number of doses allocated to the local government area increases from the current supply of 720 per week to 990 per week in mid September and then up to 1,193 per week in October, according to Healthy North Coast, which is helping coordinate the rollout of vaccines through general practice clinics.

More than 70 additional general practices across the North Coast will also join the vaccination program, taking the total number of participating practices in the region to more than 110, alongside the six Commonwealth vaccination clinics, such as the one at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

Nambucca Respiratory Clinic and Macksville’s Star Clinic were the only practices in the Valley offering the Pfizer vaccine and wait times for an appointment were about two months at the time of writing, however new appointments are being added as stock is delivered each week.

The names of the new practices offering the Pfizer vaccine will be uploaded onto the government’s vaccine eligibility checker over the coming weeks.

Healthy North Coast Wellness Executive Director Monika Wheeler said demand for the Pfizer vaccine is currently outstripping supply in communities across New South Wales but that the situation was “just temporary”.

“It all comes back to the national stockpile.

“We just don’t have the vaccines we need yet,” she said, adding that the increased supply and new general practices joining the rollout over the next couple of months will ease the problem.

“Hope is on its way.

“Everyone who wants [the Pfizer vaccine] will be able to get it.”

The Mid North Coast has “really embraced the vaccines” and uptake across the region is slightly higher than the national average, Wheeler said, however she noted that there were pockets where uptake was lower than others.

Up to 69 per cent of the eligible population in the Nambucca Heads, Valla and Hyland Park area had received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and up to 39 per cent were fully vaccinated, but that number dropped to a maximum of 49 percent for single doses and 29 per cent for double doses for the Bowraville, Argents Hill and Buckra Bendinni postcode, according to figures on NSW Government’s vaccination tracker website at the time of going to print.

Wheeler said it’s “difficult to hypothesise too much” about the reasons for disparities in vaccine uptake between different postcodes, but said it’s likely related to access, which will be improved by the increased supply and additional clinics joining the program over the next couple of months.

“We’ll be watching uptake closely and working closely with communities where uptake isn’t as strong,” she said.

Under a four-stage plan to return to normal that was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in late July, 70 percent of the eligible population will need to have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine before the nation moves to the next stage of easing restrictions.

Australia’s vaccination campaign is currently on track to achieve this by late October 2021.

The next phase of easing will come into force once Australia hits 80 percent of the population being fully vaccinated, which the nation is currently on track to achieve by mid November.

Pfizer bookings are now open for anyone between the ages of 16 and 59 and all residential aged care workers, regardless of age.

Bookings for anyone aged 12 to 15 will open on September 13.

To check your eligibility and book an appointment, use the government’s online Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.


By Brooke LEWIS

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