The West Australian government has announced an expansion of its COVID-19 vaccination program, with nine clinics set to open in the next week.
Key points:Nine vaccine clinics will open in metropolitan and regional areasEligible recipients in Phases 1A and 1B will receive the AstraZeneca vaccineA new Perth clinic is expected to vaccinate about 700 people on Sunday
WA Premier Mark McGowan said clinics would be established in Armadale, Midland, Rockingham, Fremantle and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
Regional clinics in Broome, Albany, Esperance and Port Hedland will also open in the coming week.
In addition to the nine clinics, one will open in Geraldton on March 15.
Mr McGowan said the clinics would distribute the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Our rollout of vaccines is proceeding at pace, and we’re very pleased that we’re able to establish these clinics all over Western Australia over the coming week for people in the first two phases — 1A and 1B — to get themselves vaccinated,” he said.
Mr McGowan continued to encourage Western Australians to get vaccinated.
“The vaccination program is very important,” he said.
“We want it to be successful, we want everyone to get vaccinated, and when it’s your turn to get vaccinated you’re doing yourself, your community and your family a huge favour,” he said.
It comes as a vaccine clinic for police officers, firefighters and healthcare staff opened at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Mr McGowan said he expected around 700 people to be vaccinated at the clinic on Sunday, including Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm.
Regional clinics ahead of schedule
Health Minister Roger Cook said the early introduction of the AstraZeneca vaccine meant the second stage of the immunisation program could be rolled out ahead of schedule and regional clinics could open sooner than expected.
The AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered at the regional clinics.(
Mr Cook said while the Pfizer vaccine would continue to be used in Bunbury and the Perth metropolitan area, the AstraZeneca jab would be used in regional areas.
“In addition to that, you’ll also see the GP-based rollout of the vaccine take place from the week beginning the 22nd of March,” he said.
“That again will be another significant shift in relation to the vaccine rollout and another big lift in the number of people being vaccinated.”
He said more than 500 GPs were expected to join the program.
WA ‘consistent’ with other states: Health Minister
Mr Cook said he expected about 8,000 people to be vaccinated by the end of the week — a smaller number than initially forecast.
However, Mr Cook said WA remained one of the states with the highest vaccination rates.
“I’m pretty happy with the way things are progressing,” he said.
“It’s consistent with the performance of other states.”
Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup said even though the rollout was behind schedule, he would not criticise the government.
“I’m not here to politicise the COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” he said.
“All of us want to make sure we support the Department of Health’s work to roll out the vaccine.
“Whatever we can do as the Liberal Party, we’ll work as constructively as possible to make sure we get that vaccine into as many arms as possible.”