Vaccines in Kwinana rise even amid mixed messages

Jake DietschSound Telegraph
Dave received his shot of Pfizer after booking in as soon as he could.
Camera IconDave received his shot of Pfizer after booking in as soon as he could. Credit: Jake Dietsch/Sound Telegraph/Jake Dietsch/Sound Telegraph

Rockingham and Kwinana have done their part to get WA out of lockdown, with scores of locals lining up for COVID tests and vaccines, even amid a sluggish and confusing rollout of jabs.

A WA Health spokesman said last week, June 28 to July 4, there were 5110 immunisations at Kwinana, up from 4307 the week before.

The spokesman said there were 1904 COVID-19 tests at the clinic in Rockingham last week, nearly triple the 687 tests the week before.

Dave, who is in the 30-49 age bracket, travelled from Spearwood to receive his Pfizer jab last week and said it was “the right thing to do”.

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“I booked my appointment the day after they announced it was available,” he said.

Kirsty after getting her Pfizer shot.
Camera IconKirsty after getting her Pfizer shot. Credit: Jake Dietsch/Sound Telegraph/Jake Dietsch/Sound Telegraph

Kirsty, from Atwell, who is over 40, said the more people were vaccinated, the more the community overall was protected.

“It’s not just about my health but also the health of the people who can’t get the vaccine, so that they’re covered,” she said.

Eileen gets her shot as dozens wait outside the Kwinana vaccine clinic.
Camera IconEileen gets her shot as dozens wait outside the Kwinana vaccine clinic. Credit: Jake Dietsch

Eileen, from Mandurah, who is in her 30s said she got her Pfizer jab because she was a disability care worker and wanted to protect her clients.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the AstraZeneca jab was available for young people, who were not yet eligible for the Pfizer shot. This contradicted advice from Premier Mark McGowan and from many State health professionals.

Port Kennedy practice principal Eoin McDonnell said the centre, which had so far only been offering the AstraZeneca jab to over 60s, had certainly seen an uptake in vaccines since the lockdown.

“We have been so fortunate in WA having not had any locally-acquired cases for so long, but this has been a double-edged sword; it has also meant that COVID-19 has not been a reality for many people and that, combined with the mixed messaging has led to vaccine hesitancy,” Dr McDonnell said.

He said the mixed messaging had led to a lot of confusion among patients and even among health professionals.

“It has almost certainly increased vaccine hesitancy, particularly due to the rare but significant side effect of blood clots with the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Dr McDonnell said.

“This has led to longer and more complex consultations with patients as we try to explore their concerns and answer their questions.

Port Kennedy Respiratory Clinic practice principal Dr Eoin McDonnell.
Camera IconPort Kennedy Respiratory Clinic practice principal Dr Eoin McDonnell. Credit: Picture: Holly Thompson

Dr McDonnell said health professionals were guided by authorities such as the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, which recommended anyone under 60 to get the Pfizer vaccine.

“People under 60 may elect to get AstraZeneca if they feel the benefit outweighs the risks but they need to be aware of the rare but significant risk of developing a clotting disorder ... which in Australia is currently about two cases in every 100,000 first-dose vaccines,” he said.

Dr McDonnell said vaccines should not be mixed and anyone who had received their first AstraZeneca without complications, should proceed with their second shot.

His clinic is starting vaccination with Pfizer this month, but with a “limited supply”.

“Hopefully our allocation will increase so that we can get as many people vaccinated as possible,” Dr McDonnell said.

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