WESTERN District Health Service (WDHS) has rolled out booster shots to frontline healthcare workers and aged care residents who were among the first to get their COVID-19 jabs earlier this year.
Around 300 WDHS aged care residents and healthcare workers, who received their second dose in April are set to receive their third jab over the next two weeks.
Community members over the age of 18 who had their second dose at least six months ago are also now eligible to book a booster vaccine at their local GP clinic.
Chief Executive, Rohan Fitzgerald said the vaccination program has entered a new phase, with most people in the region now double vaccinated.
“WDHS has administered 16,574 first and second dose vaccinations since March and we couldn’t be happier with the local uptake,” he said.
“It’s been a huge undertaking and we are very proud of our involvement in the roll-out, working alongside local GP clinics, community health centres and pharmacies to ensure the program’s success.
“Second dose vaccination rates in the Southern Grampians are at 93.2 per cent and we hope to achieve a 95 per cent second dose vaccination rate very soon, amongst the highest in the world,” he said.
Boosters are the next part of the Federal Government plan to ensure Australians have maximum protection against COVID-19 and have been recommended for anyone who received their full course more than six months ago.
Based on current advice, two doses of vaccine offers very good protection for at least six months, however that protection can wane after six months.
Evidence showed that a third dose after six months triggered a stronger immune response over a longer period.
Mr Fitzgerald said vaccine shortages experienced earlier in the year mean the next cohort of third dose vaccinations at WDHS won’t begin until January 2022.
In the interim local GP practices have begun administering boosters to eligible community members.
“While the next phase of the roll out is yet to be finalised, we will actively work with local general practice and pharmacies to ensure boosters are readily accessible in our region,” he said.
“Booster shots are voluntary, and we recommend the community takes advantage of getting greater protection from the virus.
There are now plenty of vaccines available and anyone who is eligible for a third dose will simply need to book through a local vaccination provider to get their booster.”
COVID-19 viral fragments were detected in Hamilton wastewater samples taken between November 7 and 11.
The unexpected detection could be an undiscovered new case or cases or could be the result of one or more people in these areas who have recovered from COVID-19 but are still shedding the virus.
The Department of Health and Human Services has recommended that anyone who has developed even the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms get tested straight away.
There were zero new cases of COVID-19 detected in the south-west on Sunday, with a total of eight confirmed active cases across four shires, these included three in Warrnambool and five in Glenelg.
Victoria recorded 860 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths on Monday from 48,104 test results.
As of Monday, 378 people were in Victorian hospitals with the virus, including 78 people in intensive care and 48 people on a ventilator.