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COVID jab popular in remote community

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More than 200 Palm Islanders have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination since the rollout began on Monday.

Health Service chief executive Kieran Keyes says getting the vaccination to the Island was no mean feat following the Federal Government’s recommendation that anyone under the age of 50 receive the Pfizer vaccine.

“When we go to these smaller towns, we go with a goal of vaccinating the whole community, similar to what we did in Richmond and Hughenden,” Mr Keyes says.

“Around 75 per cent of Palm Island residents are under the age of 50, so we needed to rethink our original approach.

“Thankfully, new guidelines around transporting the Pfizer vaccine meant we were able to defrost the vials on Monday morning, fly them over to Palm Island in temperature-controlled storage, and use them on the island for the following five days.”

Mr Keyes is reassuring the community that getting the vaccine was safe.

“Vaccination is another important tool in our fight against this virus.

“I chose to wait and get my vaccine with the people of Palm Island because I wanted them to know it was safe.

“Adverse reactions are rare, and the complications that can result from getting COVID-19 are much more significant, particularly for vulnerable populations such as Indigenous Australians.”

The Townsville HHS vaccination team will head back to Palm Island on 17 June to administer second doses of the vaccination.