Illawarra needs a vaccine rollout roadmap

30 August 2021

Additional vaccines for the Wollongong Mass Vaccination Centre, outreach to vulnerable communities and confusion over when vaccines will be available to groups added to the eligibility list requires a clear vaccine rollout roadmap for the Illawarra from the NSW Government, Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully MP said.

“For the last month the Wollongong Mass Vaccination Centre has not been operating at its full capacity because the additional vaccines promised to the Centre, to take the vaccination rate from 700 to 2500 jabs a day, have not been provided.


“Vulnerable groups who are lagging behind the rest of the community also need a clear understanding of when outreach vaccination programs will reach them”, Mr Scully said.


A vaccine rollout roadmap for the Illawarra would provide clear details on when vaccine supplies will be boosted in the region and when new age groups added to the eligibility list will be able to get their first and second jabs.


Mr Scully said with the Illawarra recording record high positive cases over the weekend it was more important than ever for the NSW Government to detail its vaccine supply plans for the region.


“First we were told more supply would come with the vaccine centre, now we are hearing late September but there is no certainty. A rollout roadmap will help keep the NSW Government on track and accountable.


“The Illawarra should not be subject to further vaccine supply delays”. Mr Scully said.


“I want everyone in the Illawarra to know that they will be able to get vaccinated by their time their industry requires it so workers are not worried about their jobs”, he said.


Mr Scully said that the addition of a number of pharmacies throughout the region to the vaccine distribution network was great, but with some age groups only being approved for Pfizer at this stage, the region was suffering from supply constraints.


“It is not a question of vaccine hesitancy for many people, it is a case of vaccine accessibility and availability”, he said.


Mr Scully said that he had also requested health officials add people living in the Illawarra and working in local government areas of concern to the vaccine priority list.


“Supply constraints have limited priority vaccination to people living and working in the local government areas of concern but this should be extended to everyone working in those areas as a matter of urgency.


“Illawarra residents working in the areas of concern have not had the same access to vaccine as their colleagues which is creating risk.


“Some of the new cases in the Illawarra are linked to travel to Sydney for work”, Mr Scully said.


“The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, local GPs and pharmacies are doing a great job getting jabs into arms but the big question is when additional supply will come and only the NSW Government can answer that question.


“If the Berejiklian Government is going to make policy decisions like setting vaccine deadlines for industries and professions it needs to match the demand it is creating with a vaccine supply guarantee for the Illawarra which remains part of “Greater Sydney” for the COVID response”, he said.


“It’s a matter of transparency and clear communication – two things missing in the Berejiklian Government’s pandemic response and vaccine roll-out”, Mr Scully said.