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COVID-19 vaccination numbers soar on Palm Island

Published:  20 May 2021

Palm Island has officially taken the crown for the most locals vaccinated in a rural visit, as a stellar 444 people showed up to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 nurse unit manager Georgina Smith said the team’s biggest day was Thursday, 13 May, with 120 vaccinations.

“We were so proud to see Palm Island locals showing up in such large numbers to receive their COVID-19 vaccine and to see over 100 people on one day was great,” she said.

“We had entire families, elders, teenagers (16 and above) and everyone in between come through to receive their vaccination.

“If anyone had questions (Townsville Public Health Unit director) Dr Steven Donohue was out front chatting to locals and often pulling them in for a conversation, which made a lot of people happy as they were getting first-hand information from a doctor.

“I could not be prouder of both the COVID-19 vaccination nurses, the Palm Island Primary Healthcare Centre team and the Palm Island community.”

Health service chief executive Kieran Keyes received his vaccination in good company, with Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council members Andrew Castors and Andrea Kyle-Sailor on hand to say thank you.

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

“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.”

Palm Island service director Liza Tomlinson said she was excited to see if numbers increased in the future.

“We found that people who weren’t keen to jump in this time still came along with friends or family who were getting vaccinated and asked questions of the nurses or Dr Donohue, so the curiosity is definitely there,” she said.

“It’s important to get the right information out into the community; I think we’ve done a great job of doing that so far.

“If this visit was any indication, I think the next clinic will see really strong numbers through as well.

“The most important thing is the Palm Island community will now see first-hand that their vaccinated friends and family are fine after receiving the vaccine, so they’ll be safe to have it too.”

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

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