Residents at Ascott Gardens aged-care facility became the first across the Central West to receive their initial COVID-19 jab on Friday morning, as the federal government's roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine officially extended to Orange.
Ascott Gardens was 'the first cab off the rank' in Orange but a number of other aged-care facilities across the city were set to begin administering jabs throughout Friday as well, marking a watershed moment in the fight against the coronavirus.
There was no confirmation of how many doses were to set to be administered in Orange on Friday, however 30,000 were allocated to aged and disability-care residents and workers across Australia for the roll-out's first week alone.
This is a significant day, it gives everyone hope that after all the pain and devastation, the end is in sight.Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee
Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee was on hand at Ascott Gardens on Friday morning to mark the milestone, while residents were receiving their jabs from specialist teams in the privacy of the facility.
"This is a great day for our region, one to celebrate because ... we can finally see the end of this pandemic," Mr Gee said.
"Ascott Gardens is the first aged-care facility in the region to receive the Pfizer vaccine. There are several other facilities ... on the Department of Health schedule (for Friday), but this is definitely first cab off the rank in Orange.
"This is a significant day, it gives everyone hope that after all the pain and devastation, to health and the economy, the end is in sight."
Aged-care facilities in Orange were among more than 240 across the country included in the opening week of the vaccination roll-out's first phase, the city was one of 41 regional centres across the state included as well.
Initial indications suggested vaccinations would begin 'early in the week' in Orange, however Mr Gee said put those slight delays down to logistical issues, which he said can't be avoided in operations of this magnitude.
Vaccinations are expected to begin in other areas of the Central West in the near future, Mr Gee confirmed, however more specific information on when that might be is yet to be released.
"We'll find out in the coming days where the next locations are," he said.
"Every location in the Central West will get its turn though, Phase 1a is a six-week roll-out plan and we are on track so far, everyone's turn will come.
"I think everyone needs to be patient and wait for their turn in the queue. When my time comes I'll certainly be getting it.
"I'm not sure when my turn will be, but I'm happy to wait because our most vulnerable are getting theirs first and that's the way it should be."
Once again, Mr Gee urged everyone in the community vaccinated but acknowledged the jabs are voluntary.
"Please, get the vaccine. It means we can keep our community safe and we can get back to normal without restrictions," Mr Gee said.
"There's been a lot of conspiracy theories about the vaccines but they are all safe."
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved as safe for people aged 16 and over by the Therapeutic Goods Administration while the AstraZeneca vaccine, expected to be available in March, has been approved for people 18 and over.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
HAVE YOUR SAY
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below ...