Graphic: RFDS (Queensland Section) administers COVID-19 vaccinations
More than 7,500 rural and remote Queenslanders have now received their COVID-19 vaccination due to the efforts of Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) primary health care staff.
RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the Flying Doctor was continuing to work closely in collaboration with Commonwealth and State departments to support the roll-out of the vaccination program.
“As a trusted provider of primary health care services to rural and remote communities, the RFDS in Queensland is well positioned to assist in the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.
“Our regular primary health care clinics have enabled our staff to develop a close rapport with people living and working in rural and remote Queensland.
“The existing relationships and trust developed between community members and our crew, via the primary health care clinics, has greatly assisted in the uptake of the vaccine. Rural and remote Queenslanders have been grateful that we can bring the vaccine to them.”
Since March, RFDS crews from Cairns, Charleville and Mount Isa have supported the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than 40 remote communities across Queensland. This program, which is funded by the Federal Government, has included the delivery of both first and second doses.
Ms Staib said the RFDS was pleased to assist the Hospital and Health Services and Primary Health Networks in facilitating access for remote and rural Queenslanders who choose to have the vaccine.
“For example, our staff have supported Queensland Health teams in providing mass vaccination clinics in Cape York communities such as Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, Coen and Lockhart,” she said.
“We have also provided additional vaccination clinics at the major roadhouses and tourist stops on Cape York. These have targeted staff and workers who have daily contact with large volumes of travellers.
RFDS crew have visited two to three tourist locations in the one day, and then returned a month later to deliver the second dose.
“Our Charleville crew recently delivered vaccinations in Hungerford, a border town which is normally serviced by our southern counterparts at RFDS South Eastern. This collaboration ensured continuity of healthcare, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.”
Ms Staib said the protection of rural and remote communities was of the utmost importance to the RFDS.
“Vaccination is the key measure to protect us all from severe illness due to COVID, to prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed, and to enable us to travel safely and move to a new normal,” she said.
“The RFDS will continue to support both Commonwealth and State departments to ensure access to the COVID-19 vaccine for individuals who live and work in our most remote communities.
“We have a very limited window of opportunity to protect vulnerable populations with limited access to medical facilities, so the RFDS remains committed to the delivery of as many vaccinations as possible.”