Vax slacker Valley

THE Derwent Valley and Central Highlands have one of the lowest rates of Covid vaccinations.

Health Department statistics based on local government areas shows of the 8478 over 15 years of age in the Derwent Valley, less than half, 48.2 per cent, have had the first dose and just a third have had the second dose.

In the Central Highlands the results are even worse.

Of the 1767 aged over 15, just 46 per cent have had the first jab and only 26.3 per cent the second.

Compared to the municipality of Tasman, which has a similar population, 67.7 per cent of the Peninsula’s residents have had the first vaccine and 26.3 per cent the second.

The Government acknowledged the vaccination rates was a problem.

“We acknowledge that vaccination rates in the northern suburbs are lower than in southern suburbs,’’ a spokesperson said.

“This is the reverse of what occurred early in the rollout when we had vaccination clinics in Brighton, New Norfolk and in Moonah.

“In recent weeks pharmacies in the northern suburbs have joined the vaccination program and GPs will soon be able to deliver the Pfizer vaccine while the Moonah Clinic will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

“However, we do recognise the need to make vaccinations as accessible as possible to everyone and are planning for additional vaccination clinics to be set up in all areas of the state where vaccination levels are lower in the coming months.’’

Derwent Valley Mayor Ben Shaw took to social media to encourage vaccination. “First Covid Jab done and dusted,’’ Mr Shaw said.

“Doing my bit to keep Tassie and our families safe.’’ And in a tongue in cheek message to Premier Peter Gutwein, Mr Shaw asked “so who wears it better? Mr Premier may be fitter than me but he has a bit to go on his tattoo game’’ comparing his tattooed arm to that of the State leader.

On a more serious note, Mr Shaw said the vaccination rate was disappointing given the local age demographic.

“I do understand that it’s been very difficult for those in the valley to access local vaccination centres and with a culmination of transport issues and ability to access Hobart or northern suburbs clinics this is always going to be the case,’’ Mr Shaw said.

“It’s been disappointing that we have not had a set Covid clinic. We have very low numbers of GP appointments at our local doctor surgery available so this will result in a lag of local residents getting vaccinated.

“Thankfully the local Guardian Pharmacy has now been afforded the opportunity to provide vaccinations locally so that should increase the numbers.

“I personally had my first shot last week with absolutely no side effects and I’m encouraging those who would like to help keep our community safe to book in as soon as you can, so our state and country can get back to some sort of normal way of life.’’ Derwent MLC Craig Farrell also urged locals to get vaccinated. “Getting vaccinated is vital to keeping you and your community safe,” Mr Farrell said.

“Vaccinations help stop the spread, which not only protects you, but helps protect your family and friends.

“The process is painless, quick and easy to book and provides a great sense of pride in doing something for the greater good.
“I encourage all members of the wider Derwent Valley community to roll up their sleeve and get the jab.’’