THE first COVID vaccinations for elderly residents in eight aged care facilities across Port Macquarie are expected to be rescheduled in coming weeks after a delay held up the roll-out of the program on the Mid-North Coast.
Healthy North Coast is working with residential aged care facilities (RACFs) and general practice clinics to help them plan for and deliver COVID-19 vaccines as part of the Commonwealth's national rollout.
Some RACFs on the north coast who were planned to start vaccinations last week, including Port Macquarie, are being rescheduled. Despite some of the "logistical challenges" with the large-scale program, aged care staff remain positive.
Almost 30,000 Australians have been vaccinated to date, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt, including 8,110 aged care and disability residents in 117 care facilities.
Mr Hunt said both the state and territory teams, alongside the aged care in-reach teams, are ramping up their operations with more vaccines being distributed across the country next week.
Read more: Government steps up virus vaccine rollout
"We had 42 residents vaccinated in one day with everyone feeling very positive about the outcome and hopeful that this brings us closer to life returning to normal," he said.
"I am very proud of our staff and the tremendous effort everyone put in, not only on the day, but in advance of the event as well.
"We put a lot of time and effort into the education process with all residents and their families. Everyone received an extensive information pack and a Q & A information sheet, as well as having personal one-on-one conversations to allay any concerns they might have had, and to ensure they were giving informed consent.
"We liaised with the residents' GPs to make sure that they were involved with the vaccine rollout and we supported our staff to be very well prepared.
"Overall, the day was really well received by staff and residents alike. Now we are planning for the second dose to be given in three weeks' time."
Meanwhile, the first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Australia on the weekend.
Over 100 general practice clinics on the North Coast and Mid North Coast have been approved by the Commonwealth to participate in the vaccine rollout for the general population.
"This is a complex undertaking and the largest vaccine rollout in Australia's history, with plan revisions occurring frequently to ensure the very best outcomes are achieved for all Australians," a Healthy North Coast spokesperson said.
Healthy North Coast will continue to coordinate the local vaccine rollout and make information available about starting dates, vaccine availability, supply volume, and other important milestones as they are confirmed by the Commonwealth.