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Covering the Central Highlands
Central West Queensland

Latest News

12 April, 2021

Taking a jab at returning to normal

THE Leader covers the Highlands' first COVID immunisation.

By Paul Albert

Dr Steven McLaughlin receiving the first COVID-19 vaccination in the Emerald region. PHOTO: Paul Albert

CENTRAL Highlands residents took the first step towards returning to normal life after the first COVID-19 jab was administered in Emerald on Wednesday. 

Senior Medical Officer Dr Stephen McLaughlin said he was excited to see the vaccine rolled out in the area. 

“It’s a privileged position to be able to receive the vaccine first,” he said. 

“That means we can safely treat patients. It provides us with extra assurance.” 

Dr McLaughlin said the vaccine would make the community a safer place. 

“I think it’s fantastic for the community,” he said. 

“Being a mining town, we have a lot of people travel in and out. 

“The quicker everyone can be vaccinated the quicker we can return back to living life like it was before COVID-19.” 

Acting General Manager and Director of Nursing for Emerald and the Central Highlands Claire Letts said she was also excited for the vaccine rollout. 

“We’re really pleased to have the COVID-19 vaccination clinic established here for our staff, so that’s level 1A and 1B, the highest [at] risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus,” she said. 

“Our frontline emergency doctors and nurses… are very multi skilled and they work across the hospital, so we’ve actually opened it up to everybody that works in the hospital. 

“We’ll be running the clinic for our staff over the next three days, then later on hopefully into some of our smaller facilities as well.” 

The general public will need to wait for the vaccination to become available to them. 

At the moment, it is accessible for frontline workers and those classified in the Phase 1A section. 

Mrs Letts said further clinics would be held in future for those vaccinated on Wednesday. 

“It’s two doses, so you need to have your vaccination a minimum of four weeks apart, preferably longer than that, and no more than 12 weeks apart,” she said. 

“We’ll be running another clinic in about 10 weeks’ time and we’ll make sure that they all come back through and receive their second dose, and then they’ll be finished the vaccination. 

“We’re hoping [to vaccinate] around 60 and if today is any indication I think we should meet that.” 

Dr Mclaughlin said he was quick to sign on for the vaccine once it became available. 

“Twelve months ago… who would have thought that a vaccine was even possible in such a short period of time,” he said. 

“It’s good that our communities have been able to have received the vaccine so quickly. 

“I’ve had no side effects… it’s very safe. 

“Everyone should get it.” 

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