Although initial indications suggested Monday would be the milestone moment it has now been confirmed the COVID-19 vaccine will start being rolled out in Orange on Friday.
Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee confirmed the start date on Thursday evening, almost a week after it was announced Orange's aged-care residents and workers would be among the first in the state to receive their jabs.
Mr Gee's confirmation ended some speculation and uncertainty regarding the Pfizer vaccine's roll-out in the city as initial announcements and the Department of Health's communications suggested it would begin as early as Monday.
This is a game changer in our fight against COVID-19. The beginning of the end of this devastating pandemic.Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee
It is yet to be confirmed why jabs didn't start being administered 'early in the week' as Mr Gee's office initially announced, as nationally priority groups in the first phase of the roll-out did begin receiving jabs.
Regardless, the first vaccinations administered on Friday will be a landmark moment in the fight against the coronavirus in Orange.
"This is a game changer in our fight against COVID-19. The beginning of the end of this devastating pandemic," Mr Gee said in Thursday's statement, released via social media.
"Friday marks the beginning of the Australian Government's vaccine rollout in Orange ... our most vulnerable elderly residents in nursing homes, people with disabilities in residential facilities and our front-line workers are first cab off the rank to receive the Pfizer vaccine."
A total of 30,000 doses were allocated to aged and disability-care workers and residents along with 50,000 for frontline workers and quarantine and border workers, with Orange the only Central West area included in the initial roll-out.
Mr Gee urged residents of other centres not to be concerned, promising vaccinations will be rolled out across the Central West soon.
"While Orange starts on Friday, other communities in the region will follow shortly after that. No community will miss out. Teams are administering the vaccine by location and every community will receive the vaccine," he said.
"I would urge everyone to wait patiently in the queue and get vaccinated when their turn comes."
The federal government is making arrangements for more than 500 medical professionals to travel to towns and suburbs around the country to deliver vaccines, with consent forms being circulated and signed prior to patients getting the jab.
Mr Gee also confirmed he will be receiving the Pfizer vaccine when his turn comes and encouraged everyone to do the same, however he did acknowledge the jab is not mandatory.
"The vaccinations are voluntary. They are safe and I am encouraging everyone to get one," he said.
"There are some crazy stories out there, but I am here to tell you there is no conspiracy and the Government won't be implanting a microchip in your arm! I'll be getting a shot when my turn arrives."
It remains unconfirmed if all aged-care facilities in Orange will be administering jabs on Friday, or a select few - those contacted by the Central Western Daily had been advised to direct enquiries to the Department of Health for information.
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