Mount Isa health care workers have received their first jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday, commencing the roll out in North West Queensland.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Hub opened at Mount Isa Hospital on Tuesday March 16, with several health care workers taking the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Doctor Don Bowley OAM from the Royal Flying Doctor Service was the first in Mount Isa to be administered the vaccine.
"Today I received the first COVID-19 vaccination and it went very smoothly. The team was very well organised and administered the vaccination and it didn't hurt at all. Now I will be called back for my second vaccination between two and 12 weeks," Dr Bowley said.
"I think this is a very exciting moment for Mount Isa to be able to have the vaccine. The reality is we have been lucky out here due to our remoteness and the quarantine provisions that were put in place, we haven't been exposed to the full severity of this disease and Western Queensland luckily hasn't had a case.
"But this is a nasty disease and has killed millions of people world-wide and we need to protect ourselves and our community and particularly those who are more subjective to severe disease including First Nations people of our community, elderly, people with chronic diseases and people with immune problems; this is a nasty disease and if we all get vaccinated that will dramatically reduce any risk or disease and transmission."
Dr Bowley said it was extremely important for him to receive the vaccine and do his part for the community.
"Firstly I believe the vaccine is safe and therefore I am very willing to have it and hopefully that will reassure others who have some doubts about having the vaccine and that it is safe to have," he said.
"The second is that we should all have the vaccine but as a health professional it is important that I take the steps to reduce my likelihood of getting the disease so that I do not inadvertently spread that disease to the people we look after or the community."
NWHHS acting chief executive Karen Murphy was also one of the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and said it was important to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.
"I am a doctor and front-line worker first and foremost and as the chief executive of the organisation I wanted to have the vaccine to show all the people at work and the community that it is a really effective and safe vaccine and that the risk of coronavirus is far greater," Dr Murphy said.
"I can completely understand people's concerns. None of us have ever experienced anything like what we have lived through in the last 12 months. But this is a deadly disease and we need to do what we can to mitigate any risk of it reaching our communities and spreading."
The COVID-19 Vaccination Hub has been newly outfitted and made operational in three weeks, which Dr Murphy said was a testament to the team.
"This hub is fantastic and I am so proud of the team who have worked hard for the last three weeks to get to this first vaccine stage. I can only thank them all profusely. They have been a tremendous support to us and the facility and soon to the rest of the community," she said.
"We are all very excited to have this hub, we had to go through an assurance process to be allowed to be a vaccination hub in Queensland so we are proud we have got to that point very quickly and are now working to keep our communities safe."
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