Great Southern kids ready to roll up for COVID-19 vaccinations

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Kate Lynch, Matthew and Felicity Beck, George Lynch, Elliot and Lachlan Villis were the first children to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at Plantagenet Medical pictured with parents Sharon Lynch, Jane and Wes Beck with Mandie Villis.
Camera IconKate Lynch, Matthew and Felicity Beck, George Lynch, Elliot and Lachlan Villis were the first children to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at Plantagenet Medical pictured with parents Sharon Lynch, Jane and Wes Beck with Mandie Villis. Credit: Plantagenet Medical

Great Southern parents are being encouraged to book a COVID-19 vaccination for their children before the start of the school year after the jab was made available to under-12s this week.

As of Monday, children aged 5-11 were able to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at State-run vaccination clinics, local GPs and pharmacies.

Premier Mark McGowan revealed on Monday that 13,399 bookings had been made for WA children in the age group to get their first jab within two weeks, with more than 5000 appointments still available at State-run clinics.

The latest vaccination figures from the Federal Government revealed more than 95 per cent of City of Albany residents aged 15 and over had received their first COVID vaccination as of Sunday, with 88.5 per cent double vaccinated.

The double vaccination rate in neighbouring shires was 86.4 per cent in Plantagenet and 80.5 per cent in Denmark.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recommended a smaller dose of Pfizer for children aged 5-11 — about a third of the size of an adult dose — with eight weeks between the first and second vaccination.

Ten Mt Barker kids were the first to be vaccinated at Plantagenet Medical on Monday, with the first official paediatric vaccination clinic set to be held at the centre on Monday, January 17.

Pioneer Health's Dr James Turner with a vial of COVID-19 vaccine.
Camera IconPioneer Health's Dr James Turner with a vial of COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Despite some WA GPs and pharmacies reporting a delay in the delivery of paediatric doses from the Federal Government, Plantagenet Medical project officer Larissa Seah said the centre received their vaccines on time.

“We are hoping that the demand will be strong and that people will want to get their kids vaccinated and at least get one dose into them before they go back to school,” Ms Seah said.

“There are eight weeks between first doses and second doses for the 5-11 year-olds ... so it is pretty important they get that first dose in before they go back to school.”

Plantagenet Medical will hold vaccination clinics for 5-11 year-olds each Monday from 2pm with a Sunday vaccination clinic to be held later this month.

Pioneer Health’s James Turner said the Albany practice had started its new regular paediatric vaccination clinics and they were booked out for the next two weeks.

Dr Turner urged parents who had any concerns around vaccinating their children to seek advice from medical professionals or the WA Department of Health.

“I think there are quite a few people who are quite sold on the benefits of vaccination both for themselves and I think they consider there is a benefit also for their kids and so those are the first responders who are getting their kids booked in,” he said.

“I think others are thinking about the risks in the period ahead, in terms of COVID circulating in the community and maybe the consequences if their kids then contract COVID, in terms of them having to miss work to look after them at home or being absent from school.”

Dr Turner said WA was in a “very fortunate window of opportunity” before the State’s borders opened on February 5.

“We could have COVID circulating in the community and so the sooner the better really in terms of getting vaccinated,” he said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails