LOLLIPOPS, special bandaids and achievement certificates were close at hand for clinical lead nurse Anne-Marie Mepham on Friday as she started administering paediatric vaccine for COVID-19 at the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service.
Depending on supply, the OAMS is planning to run clinics for the 5 to 11 years age group two days a week throughout the holidays, and then into the school year, following an encouraging response from the indigenous community.
Mrs Mepham said parents were keen to have have their children protected.
"They're ringing us, asking us when can we get our kids in," she said adding there had been a waiting list.
"It's helped that all our elders in the community, the majority of them are now vaccinated and they're also advising and trying to get the younger generations to come forward as well."
Mrs Mepham said the beginning of the school year at the end of this month, combined with the highly-transmissible omicron variant, were on parents' minds.
"We've got to prevent our kids from getting sick and making other people sick," she said.
"It's quite prevalent at the moment, there are quite large [case] numbers [in Orange] so we need to do what we can to try and stop it."
She added the escalating case numbers were also discouraging OAMS patients from coming to seek regular medical attention which was another reason to encourage vaccination.
Mrs Mepham said the OAMS vaccination program was open to the whole community, not just indigenous members with Pfizer and Moderna offered for adult boosters.
Supply has been a major issue with the paediatric rollout, Kate Gray from Peter Smith TerryWhite Chemmart saying her business had received 130 children's doses after placing a much larger order.
"They couldn't tell me if I would get [more stock] next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday," she said.
Mrs Gray said her business had fulfilled its paediatric bookings for the week but was not taking any more until it could guarantee it would have the stock.
Pharmacies can only place an order once every two weeks.
There are reports of pharmacies not receiving their order and having to cancel appointments.
Mrs Mepham said the OAMS hoped to increase its supply order.
"If we can do more then we're going to do more - if we can get the supply," she said.
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