Date published: 
7 June 2021
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

More rural and remote Queenslanders will be rolling up their sleeves as local pharmacies join the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout from today.

The Australian Government is partnering with the Queensland community pharmacy network to bolster the regional rollout of vaccines, with 49 pharmacies starting to vaccinate from this week.

Speaking at the first pharmacy-delivered vaccination site in Boonah, Wright MP, Scott Buchholz, said he was proud the Scenic Rim region and more specifically Boonah was chosen to be part of the local pharmacy rollout of vaccines which would help protect more people from the devastating pandemic.

“I’m pleased for Scenic Rim locals who can now book their AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at Terry Foote’s Boonah Pharmacy,” Mr Buchholz said.

“I urge everyone who is eligible for vaccination to make a booking and get the jab, to protect you, your family, and the wider community from this awful disease.”

Federal Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton said using the existing network of community pharmacies in Queensland ensures regional Australians will have more access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“More than 8 million people live outside Australia’s major capital cities, and while the regions have largely been spared from outbreaks during the pandemic, getting vaccinated is vital to our ongoing recovery and way forward,” Minister Coulton said.

“Ensuring all Queenslanders have access to COVID-19 vaccinations, regardless where they live, is hugely important, and community pharmacies provide a network of professionals to make this task easier.

“Pharmacists have the skills and the capacity to play an important role in bolstering the rollout of vaccines in the bush and have the local knowledge needed to ensure their communities are fully protected from the virus.”

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said Queensland’s community pharmacies are the first to join the national COVID-19 vaccine effort, one of the largest logistical exercises in the nation’s history.

“This will harness Australia’s network of community pharmacies to increase access to safe, effective, and free vaccines, especially for those in regional, rural, and remote communities,” Minister Hunt said.

“We have always said community pharmacies will play an important role in the ramp up of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and we are working with other states and territories to activate community pharmacies across the country.”

As the community pharmacy rollout begins, the benchmark of one million people in regional, rural, and remote Australia receiving their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been surpassed.

Minister Coulton said the milestone is significant in the protection of regional Australians, many of whom remain vulnerable to future COVID-19 outbreaks.

“The rollout of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines across Australia’s vast and sparsely populated areas is a complex and challenging undertaking,” Minister Coulton said.

“I would like to thank everyone involved with helping to reach this milestone, including medical professionals, Indigenous and other health services and most of all, the people who have stepped up - and rolled up - to be vaccinated.

Minister Coulton said it is pleasing that many regional Australians had acknowledged the vaccine would protect them from the virus and had made appointments to have their vaccine.

Visit health.gov.au/covid-19-vaccines for more information about the vaccine rollout.

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