Following a rise in cases in the past week, the Cessnock local government area (LGA) will host several pop-up clinics to boost vaccination numbers from Friday.
The LGA was placed in an extended lockdown today, until 11 October, due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health risk.
The Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) registered 82 infections overnight, with Cessnock recording 19 of those alone.
Positive results were detected at Kurri Kurri, Weston, Cliftleigh, Cessnock, Heddon Greta, Kitchener, Laguna and Neath.
So, the announcement of the hub is timely – and comes after much lobbying from state member Clayton Barr.
The Cessnock MP made approaches to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, ministers for health at federal and state level, as well as HNELHD, to make it possible.
Now, the LGA’s first NSW Health clinic will open on 1 October at the Cessnock District Hospital.
“I don’t have the words to describe how excited I am,” Mr Barr said.
“I saw yesterday, with the Awabakal Vaccination Hub in Cessnock, just how many people are desperately trying to get vaccinated as soon as they can.”
Residents can visit the hospital’s car park in Forster Street between 10am and 4pm.
The following week, NSW Health will stage a pop-up clinic at Weston (92 Station Street) on Friday 8 October from 10am to 4pm.
“The NSW and Australian governments have made people in big cities their vaccination priority and, unfortunately, regional communities have missed out,” Mr Barr said.
“The clinics will primarily target those who are high risk and/or vulnerable residents in our community.
“That includes the homeless or at risk of homelessness, locals living with disabilities, indigenous people and those with chronic health conditions.
“However, I must stress, no one will be turned away.
“The vaccination hub will offer Pfizer for 12 years of age and older.
“Hopefully, now, we can get our vaccination numbers above 70% and 80% and enjoy some of the same ‘freedoms’ given to those city-based communities.”
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