COVID vaccine now flows in Tenterfield

No pain here: Colleen Knight lines up for her COVID vaccination from Tenterfield Health Services nurse Nadine Blacker as Dr Sunil looks on. Photo: Donna Ward.
No pain here: Colleen Knight lines up for her COVID vaccination from Tenterfield Health Services nurse Nadine Blacker as Dr Sunil looks on. Photo: Donna Ward.

The COVID-19 vaccine is finally flowing in Tenterfield with those over the age of 50 now generally eligible for the first of two shots.

Tenterfield Health Services practice manager Jeanette Thomas said another 300 doses of Astra Zeneca has just arrived in her practice alone.

"That is great news for the community," she said.

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The practice has been conducting vaccination clinics for the past couple of weeks. Now that supplies seem stable the clinics will be operating on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Those already on Dr Sunil's books are being contacted but Ms Thomas said those not already attached to a GP practice are welcome to contact them.

Due to the scrutiny being placed on the vaccine rollout the process is quite rigourous. Ms Thomas credited the practice's registered nurse Deb Byrt for setting up the clinic's procedures to ensure they're compliant.

Patients can check their eligibility at www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-checker but contact Tenterfield practices directly if they don't show up as a booking option.

Ms Thomas said Tenterfield Health Services welcomes calls on (02) 6736 3350.

Perversely Tenterfield Health Services is fielding calls from Glen Innes patients due to some glitch in the online booking options.

On securing an appointment the patient is emailed vaccine information and a form to complete, or they can arrive early for their appointment to complete the paperwork. At Tenterfield Health Services there's then a consultation with Dr Sunil to discuss any issues before the vaccination is delivered.

Patients are then required to stay in the surgery for 15 minutes for observation. An appointment is also made at that time for the follow-up vaccination 12 weeks later.

Dr Sunil said his patients are expressing concerns about blood clots and other adverse side effects that have been reported. He said he assures them that, as for any vaccination, the benefits far outweigh any risk.

Colleen Knight works in hospitality and said she was happy to line up for her vaccination.

"In my job I interact with a lot of tourists and visitors.

"This keeps me safe, and everyone else safe."

After a long wait residents of local aged care facilities are scheduled to receive their first shots on Thursday, in a rollout being orchestrated under a different system.

The government is now up to Phase 2a of the vaccination rollout.

This means people 50 years and over can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at a participating general practice.