‘UNHELPFUL SCAREMONGERING’: Demand for vaccine hub slammed

Concerns raised by Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders about the failure to provide a COVID-19 vaccination hub on the Fraser Coast have been labelled as "unhelpful scaremongering".

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said everyone who wants to be vaccinated will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of where they live.

"The Australian Government is committed to providing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines free to everyone living in Australia, he said.

"Comments from the Member for Maryborough about the vaccination rollout are unhelpful.

"Now is not the time to be second-guessing the advice from the medical professionals who have planned the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"The Member for Maryborough should have taken the opportunity to ask his own government about its role in the rollout strategy for the COVID-19 vaccine, instead of scaremongering about the region being "forgotten.

Earlier this week, Mr Saunders said he was "furious" the region had not been included in the initial rollout of vaccination hubs.

On Monday Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the Gold Coast University Hospital would be the first of six hubs.

Ms Palaszczuk said the rollout would be trialled at the Gold Coast Hospital to ensure "everything is fine" before the vaccine was sent to hubs in Cairns, Brisbane, Townsville and the Sunshine Coast.

Mr Saunders said Maryborough should be included on the list and was ideally placed to meet the needs of the greater Wide Bay region including Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

He said he felt like the region had been forgotten.

"We definitely need a hub here," he said.

"We've got front line workers, we have elderly people.

"Our elderly people and health workers deserve to be inoculated."

Mr Pitt said vaccine distribution locations and sites across Australia were in the process of being finalised in conjunction with state and territory governments.

"These sites will include places such as GP respiratory clinics, GPs, community pharmacies, state/territory vaccination clinics and Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisation clinics, he said.

"The government's call out to GPs and community pharmacies will strengthen the nationwide rollout and will give more options for people to access the COVID-19 vaccination if they choose to be vaccinated."

Mr Saunders said he was disappointed in Mr Pitt for not standing up for region.

"I thought he'd stand up to the government," he said.

As distribution planning for the COVID-19 vaccine is finalised updates will be made available at: www.health.gov.au/covid19-vaccines.



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