Graphic: Mobile covid test
It has been just over a year since COVID-19 first crossed our shores. In that time the Royal Flying Doctor Service has been on the frontline, helping outback communities get tested and access health care despite the signicant challenges of 2020.
Now all eyes are on Australia’s vaccination rollout, which began in February 2021. Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section) clinicians and aircraft stand ready to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to rural communities.
RFDSSE Chief Medical Officer Randall Greenberg explains further: “Our Broken Hill Team has put in an application to become a provider,” he says, “and I’ve offered our services to fly vaccines and clinicians out to some of the more remote places so we can give vaccinations to small communities all in one go.”
Graphic: Nurse performing COVID testing
“Everyone was scared that COVID-19 would get into some of these small towns, particularly those with a large Indigenous community, because they are considered to be at greater risk – and in a smaller community it’s felt that transmission of the virus would go through a small population quickly.”
“Fortunately, that has not happened, but it is important that we get those vaccinations to those remote communities, so it doesn’t happen.”
“We’ve dodged a bullet so far, and we’re happy about that, but it’s really important that we continue on with what we’re doing,” concludes Dr Greenberg.
Uncertainties remain with new and even more infectious COVID-19 variants emerging. Like all Australian health services, the RFDS South Eastern Section will remain vigilant and prepared for any eventuality. We are as committed as ever to ensuring vaccines are accessible to all, and to safe working practices for staff and patients until the pandemic ends.
As Australia’s vaccine rollout gathers momentum, we will continue to serve and support our outback communities as best we can. We will update our supporters on the Flying Doctor website as vaccination activity unfolds.