Private hospitals are playing their part in ramping up Queensland’s vaccination rollout as the state seeks to bolster its COVID-19 response.
Ramsay Health Care, Australia’s largest private provider, has established a new clinic on the Gold Coast, while in the Far North its staff are helping at a Cairns vaccine hub – and the group's pharmacists are offering Moderna as well as Pfizer vaccinations.
Queensland had the lowest full vaccination rate of any state as of Tuesday 5 October 2021, with 48.89 percent of its eligible population having received two doses, while 67.76 percent have had one jab – marginally ahead of only Western Australia.
The new vaccination site at John Flynn Private Hospital at Tugun on the southern Gold Coast will administer up to 800 COVID-19 vaccine doses per day, with the capacity to surge to 1,000 daily shots.
Due to open on Monday 11 October this year, it will be one of two new clinics at either end of the region.
“Our border is our first line of defence against the Delta variant getting into Queensland,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“We have a window of opportunity to vaccinate our population before we see more outbreaks in this state.”
Up north, more than 60 volunteers from Cairns Private Hospital are assisting with the administration of vaccines at the city’s Convention Centre Hub, which can deliver up to 2,500 doses a day.
“Our Cairns staff put their hands up to be involved in this as they know how important it is not just locally but for all of Australia to increase the number of people who have been vaccinated,” the hospital’s CEO Ben Tooth said.
“Our dedicated nurses are committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated for the safety and protection of the entire Cairns community.”
Ramsay Health Care operates 18 hospitals across Queensland, employing around 10,000 staff, and Mr Tooth said the group’s workers had volunteered for vaccine centres throughout the state.
“We know vaccination is incredibly effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalisations, and with every additional vaccine administered, we ensure the number of people who need to be admitted to hospital with COVID reduces,” Mr Tooth said.
Meanwhile, pharmacists across the Ramsay network are also ramping up their services, having administered more than 4,000 AstraZeneca jabs at 50 sites since July.
That number is set to surge following the start of Moderna vaccinations at 29 Ramsay pharmacies from late September.
All Australians over the age of 12 can now choose between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, while AstraZeneca is approved for people 18 and above.
"This is a really exciting time for the Ramsay Pharmacy Group as we have begun the next phase of the vaccination rollout with Moderna,” Chief Operating Officer Michelle Lynch said.
This year, World Pharmacists Day was celebrated on Saturday 25 September, to acknowledge the trusted role pharmacists play in the healthcare sector.
In addition to Ramsay’s in-store vaccination workers, another 23 of its pharmacists have been volunteering at COVID-19 hubs in New South Wales and Queensland.
“They’re on the frontline, helping to improve health outcomes and facilitate economic recovery,” Ms Lynch said.
“Our pharmacists and customer service team have demonstrated resilience and professionalism throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic, not only co-ordinating and administering vaccines but also continuing to help and care for our customers with their medication or healthcare needs.”