Vaccination hub to stay

Friday July 01, 2022

Published by: The Border Watch

By: Charlotte Varcoe

MOUNT Gambier's Covid-19 vaccination clinic has not been closed, as was previously expected for this week, but will be scaled down due to reduced demand.

Between May 30 to June 26 this year, an average of 223 vaccinations were administered weekly at the local clinic compared to 871 at the same time last year.

As of June 26, clinics run by the Limestone Coast Local Health Network have administered more than 71,000 vaccinations since opening in May 2021.

The announcement that the clinic would continue on a scaled down basis came just days before the clinic was expected to close, as announced in April.

In April Premier Peter Malinauskas announced that plans made by the prior State Government to close a number of vaccination clinics, including Mount Gambier's, would be overturned and the new closure date was set to June 30.

This was overturned earlier this week, with the announcement the clinic would instead be scaled down.

A Limestone Coast Local Health Network spokesperson said they were planning for the clinic to operate in Mount Gambier for two days a week with mobile clinics continuing to service other local towns in need around the region.

"We will review vaccination activities on a monthly basis and ensure there is capacity to upscale if there is a need in the future," the spokesperson said.

"We will notify the community of upcoming dates and locations of visits in coming weeks and we encourage local residents to keep a close eye on our social media for updates on vaccination clinics." The spokesperson said vaccines remained available at participating general practitioners and pharmacies.

Free flu vaccines for those eligible aged over 65-years would also remain available at the central vaccination clinic.

"We thank the Mount Gambier community for rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated, and we encourage South Australians who are not up-to-date with their Covid vaccinations to visit the clinic, their general practitioner or pharmacy as soon as possible," the spokesperson said.

Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell threw his support behind the decision to downsize the central vaccination hub stating it had served its purpose well.

"The important thing to remember is that the service will continue but as demand declines we need to respond accordingly," Mr Bell said.

"The reason for a big vaccination hub was to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible and as the demand falls there is no need for a large central facility in Mount Gambier anymore which is why this decision has been made.

"This decision will also free up health resources in our region, especially nursing staff." The latest data released by SA Health showed 94 per cent of South Australians over the age of 12 have been double vaccinated with a further 73 per cent of eligible South Australians having had their third booster shot.

The Mount Gambier vaccination hub will remain at its current location in the Mount Gambier Central Shopping Centre, operating between 9am until 4.30pm with opening days to be announced.