11 March, 2021
More than 1200 locals vaccinated
More than 1200 Cairns frontline workers have received the COVID-19 vaccine since the first was administered two weeks ago at Cairns Hospital.
Among these vaccine recipients are Chief Superintendent Chris Hodgman, and hotel quarantine worker Daryl Chung – who are both considered as frontline workers due to their proximity and regular contact with potentially infectious COVID patients.
Mr Chung, who works as a housekeeper in a local quarantine hotel, has daily tasks including delivering meals and other items to hotel room doors, removal of rubbish, and stripping bed linen when a guest has departed their room.
He said he was keen to receive the vaccination, so he could keep his family safe.
“I’m scared of passing COVID-19 to my elderly mother or young son. When there has been a case in the hotel, I have purposefully avoided visiting my family in order to keep them safe,” he said.
“I’m in the COVID-19 firing line and I want to be protected by the vaccination.
“I actually want everyone to get vaccinated as this has been going on for too long now – let’s just get back to normal.”
Chief Superintendent Chris Hodgman has led the police response from the commencement of operations and has daily management of the hotel quarantine and airport officers, the team that escorts returning travellers from the Cairns International Airport to a quarantine hotel.
“I’m proud to stand here today alongside QHealth and Australian Defence Force workers on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19,” he said.
“In our line of work, we are at particular risk of being exposed to the virus.
“While we take every precaution necessary, this vaccine will give us an additional layer of protection and allow us to return safely to our families each day.”
Jo-Anne Campbell, Vaccine Clinical Nurse Consultant, said it had been an extraordinary two weeks for the health service.
“It’s hard to imagine that just 14 days ago, we were standing here vaccinating our first person, infectious disease physician Dr Simon Smith, as the first Hospital and Health Service in regional Queensland to become a Pfizer hub,” she said.
“This is an incredible milestone, considering it has been the same fortnight we’ve had a cyclone looming off the coast.
“The fact that our dedicated staff have still made an effort to attend appointments to receive their COVID vaccinations whilst dealing with power outages and life disruptions, just proves how dedicated they are to protecting our community from the virus.”
The frontline workers will receive their second booster shot in three weeks’ time before further groups of people are vaccinated in the planned, staged approach.
Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is available, more locations will come online, including hospitals, GPs and pharmacies.
Further information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at: www.qld.gov.au/covid-19vaccine