Orange's frontline healthcare workers will begin receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations from next Monday onward, as part of a roll-out across the entire western region.
Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan confirmed the start date on Monday afternoon, explaining the region's most at-risk workers would receive their jabs as a priority.
He also confirmed they will receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the continued phase 1a of the national roll-out which, compared to the Pfizer vaccine, 'offers advantages for our district given the challenges of distance'
For our healthcare workers, we will have fixed clinics in Orange and Dubbo taking bookings from March 22.Western NSW LHD chief executive Scott McLachlan
"Phase 1a includes healthcare workers who work in areas such as emergency departments and intensive care units," Mr McLachlan said.
"For our healthcare workers, we will have fixed clinics in Orange and Dubbo taking bookings from March 22 with the Bathurst clinic opening the following day.
"Our clinics will be providing the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Both the current vaccines are very effective and Oxford/AstraZeneca offers advantages for our district given the challenges of distance."
Mr McLachlan said two mobile clinics would be in operation from Monday, March 22, visiting smaller health facilities across the health district over coming weeks.
"The vaccination requires two injections at least 12 weeks apart so those clinics will be booking staff in for both their appointments," he said.
"I would encourage people to use the Australian Government's online eligibility checker to see when and how they can access vaccination."
News of the vaccine's imminent arrival for healthcare workers comes not long after the 12-month anniversary of Orange's first confirmed case of COVID-19, on March 10 last year.
Healthcare workers will also begin receiving their jabs just shy of a month on from vaccinations beginning at Orange's aged-care facilities, residents and workers at Ascott Gardens were the first in the city to begin administering them on February 26.
Western LHD has now gone 232 days without a confirmed case of COVID-19 while NSW recorded one new, locally-acquired case earlier this week, snapping a 55-day streak without any.
"This [the vaccine rollout] is a really exciting development," Mr McLachlan said.
"Our staff and our communities have been incredible in taking action to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and we all want the vaccination program to be a success.
"We're fortunate to have the vaccine available and it will be a relief for our healthcare workers to have this extra layer of protection."
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