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Local vaccinations begin

WEDNESDAY was an exciting day at Western District Health Service (WDHS) and for the wider community as Phase One of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out got underway.

Sixty-six aged care residents from the Birches and Grange were some of the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine yesterday, as well as 134 frontline 1A frontline healthcare workers.

A team from the Barwon South West Public Health Unit was on site to support WDHS with the delivery of the vaccine.

WDHS chief executive, Rohan Fitzgerald said the roll out was a “game changer” for the region and the team was excited to get the vaccination program underway, with 800 staff, residents and community members to get the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs this week.

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rates currently sit at 0.3 per cent and this week’s roll-out will boost the local shire’s rate to around 6 per cent.

“By the end of this week, approximately 6 per cent of the Southern Grampians Shire Council will be vaccinated,” Mr Fitzgerald said yesterday.

“This is a significant announcement in terms of the number of people that will be now protected from the virus.

“We know it’s going to reduce the severity of the disease within our local community, that’s going to take a lot of pressure off – it’s a game changer.

“We are going to be shifting from an environment where we have a lot of restrictive practices in place, to a world where things will hopefully open up over the next 6-12 months.”

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