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Vaccine Works: Innisfail primary health providers showcased in COVID campaign

Published 02 November 2021

COVID-19 vaccine providers in the Innisfail region are the latest to be showcased in a new campaign which highlights the incredible work primary care providers are doing to help protect North Queenslanders during the ongoing pandemic.

Innisfail Family Health Assistant Practice Manager – Annette Ah Shay (left) receives her COVID-19 vaccine from Registered Nurse Michelle McCarthy
Innisfail Family Health Assistant Practice Manager – Annette Ah Shay (left) receives her COVID-19 vaccine from Registered Nurse Michelle McCarthy

 Vaccine Works campaign

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network’s (NQPHN) Vaccine Works campaign spotlights the region’s vaccinating general practices and pharmacies and focuses on the primary care sector’s highly successful role in increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in North Queensland.

In Innisfail, general practices and pharmacies are currently vaccinating the local community, including:

  • Rankin Street Medical Centre
  • Innisfail Family Health
  • Innisfail Medical Centre
  • Chemist Warehouse.

As of today (2 November 2021), Rankin Street Medical Centre, Innisfail Family Health, and Chemist Warehouse have together delivered more than 12,000 COVID vaccines to the wider Innisfail community, which has a population of approximately 10,000 people.

Rankin Street Medical Centre has been vaccinating the local Innisfail community since the vaccination rollout program began earlier this year, establishing a stand-alone vaccination site.

“We decided very early that vaccinating all the adults in the area was never going to happen in a reasonable timeframe without a high-throughput designated facility,” said Dr Simon Birchley, GP at Rankin Street Medical Centre.

“Fortunately, a suitable site for such a stand-alone clinic was available next to our practice, with computer and telephone connectivity, and the model has worked pretty well.

“The real heroes have been our staff – managing the bookings, stock control, and vaccination process while dealing with a constant and at times overwhelming number of calls and walk-in questions about timing and eligibility in the early months.”

Innisfail Family Health has been vaccinating local residents with both Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

“As a Registered Nurse (RN), I have a responsibility to ensure I educate and encourage members of the public to be vaccinated,” said practice RN Michelle McCarthy.

Joel Ng, Managing Partner and pharmacist at Chemist Warehouse Innisfail, said it has been great to see pharmacies able to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the community.

“Chemist Warehouse Innisfail was one of the first few pharmacies approved for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” said Mr Ng.

“The uptake of the vaccine has been very positive from the Innisfail community.

“We were fully booked on our vaccination days and had to increase the booking slot in order to accommodate for the demand.”

NQPHN Chief Executive Officer Robin Whyte praised Innisfail’s vaccinating GPs and pharmacies and said the primary care sector is playing a key role in the ever-increasing rate of COVID-19 vaccinations across North Queensland.

“Our Vaccine Works campaign is about showcasing our local primary care providers for all the amazing work they’ve done over the past few months to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates in North Queensland and protect our community,” Ms Whyte said.

In North Queensland, there are currently 135 general practices, 115 pharmacies, 10 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, and four GP-led Respiratory Clinics administering COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna).

To book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, including at Queensland Health clinics, people are encouraged to use the Australian Government’s official COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder at https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au

Last updated: 16 November 2021