KI flying high with Flying Doctor delivering COVID vaccine rollout
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed the news that the State Government will use the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to Kangaroo Island residents.
Media reports this morning have stated that the RFDS, the Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network, and the Kangaroo Island Council will run a six-day a week program for the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines over three months from June 8.
The announcement follows nearly five months of inquiries by Rebekha with State and Federal health authorities after KI residents in the eligible vaccine groups complained that they could not access the AstraZeneca or Pfizer jabs unless they travelled to the mainland.
“I first raised the lack of access with the State Health Minister Stephen Wade back in January, and then again in March, when I also wrote to the Federal Minister Greg Hunt because Yorketown on the Yorke Peninsula was listed as the closest vaccination clinic for Islanders on the Commonwealth's vaccination information website,” Rebekha said.
“After months of inquiries, I finally received correspondence from the State Health Minister Stephen Wade last week advising that SA Health was still developing a ‘site-specific strategy for the rollout of the vaccine on Kangaroo Island’.
“I also met with Minister Wade last Thursday to discuss a range of health issues for Mayo and I raised the KI vaccine issue.
"The Minister was very receptive and engaging on the vaccine issue. I am pleased that after raising the matter publicly, the State Government has listened to the concerns of KI residents and acted quickly to find a solution, working with the Council to open the Kingscote Town Hall as a vaccine hub.
“I appreciate that rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations across the State is a complex and challenging logistical exercise but it shouldn’t take five months to set up a vaccine roll-out for a community that has limited options for accessing this important health program.
“Just under 5,000 people live on the Island and more than a thousand of them are aged 65 years and over. A number by virtue of age, disability, or underlying health conditions are eligible for priority, free vaccination under phases 1a and 1b of the vaccine rollout.”
Image: Courtesy Mufid Majnun