by Anne Miller
Figures released recently by the Federal Department of Health have shone a light on vaccination rates across Australia – and it’s not good news for Cherbourg.
As at August 27, Cherbourg residents have the lowest vaccination rates in Queensland with 19.3 per cent of community members having received their first dose, and just 4.6 per cent receiving their second.
In comparison, within the South Burnett Regional Council area 46.2 per cent of eligible residents have received their first dose and 22.0 per cent have received their second.
Other local Council areas include: Toowoomba (51.9% / 31.8%); Gympie (49.0 / 24.6%); North Burnett (47.8% / 30.5%); and Western Downs (42.6% / 21.2%).
The Cherbourg rates are despite a free Pfizer vaccination clinic being held in the town from August 3-5.
I understand that although more than 1000 vaccinations were carried out at the clinic, only about 300 were Cherbourg residents.
The importance of lifting vaccination rates in small communities has been tragically demonstrated during the Delta outbreak in NSW.
This week, NSW Health confirmed the first death of an Indigenous man during the current outbreak, a 50-year-old in Dubbo.
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said she was afraid the Dubbo death would be the first of many in Indigenous communities.
The Delta variant is spreading quickly in small communities across NSW.
For example, more than 70 people in the western NSW town of Wilcannia – which has a high Indigenous population – currently have COVID-19.
And on August 31, the total of infections across Western NSW is believed to be more than 650.
Misunderstanding and misinformation have been blamed for low vaccination rates in some First Nations communities across Australia.
However, once the virus enters a community, crowded living areas and the inability to self-isolate heightens the risk of local spread, especially when vaccination rates are low.
With the pandemic spreading in NSW and Victoria, it’s almost a certainty now there will be outbreaks in Queensland.
I can understand why some Cherbourg residents don’t trust authorities to be doing the right thing by them. Federal and State governments don’t exactly have a great track record …
But a lot of information about vaccines and COVID which has been shared on Facebook – including on local South Burnett pages – is simply wrong.
There is a small window of opportunity now for Cherbourg residents to receive their first or second vaccinations.
A second Cherbourg vaccination clinic will be held from noon to 5:00pm on Monday (September 6); 8:00am to 4:30pm on Tuesday- Thursday (September 7-9) and 8:00am to noon on Friday (September 10) at the Cherbourg Hall.
Please take advantage of this free clinic and increase your chances of staying safe!
- Related article: COVID Clinic Coming Back