PERTH, Australia — Younger West Australians will be targeted in a coronavirus vaccination “blitz” as the state looks to boost its faltering rollout.
About 17 percent of West Australian adults have so far been fully vaccinated, the worst performance of any state or territory.
Up to 140,000 appointments for Pfizer doses will be made available during a two-week surge period beginning on August 16.
People aged 30 to 39 who have previously registered their interests will be prioritized. Opening hours expanded at vaccination hubs in Kwinana, Claremont, Redcliffe, and Joondalup and a newly-opened Perth’s Central Business District clinic.
Others in their 30s will be eligible to book appointments from August 9.
“We want to improve those figures with this blitz and encourage as many people to go and get vaccinated as possible,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
“I would just encourage everyone, do not be hesitant vaccination is our way out of the pandemic.”
McGowan, 54, added that he felt “fit and healthy” after receiving his second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week.
It is hoped at least 70 percent of eligible adults will be fully vaccinated by the end of the year.
The premier said that Western Australia had been a victim of its own success in preventing widespread outbreaks through lockdowns and border closures.
“We have had fewer outbreaks in Western Australia than other states, we have had a healthier and safer community, and maybe that has meant that we’re a bit more comfortable, perhaps complacent,” he said.
“What we need to do is keep reminding people that Covid-19 is still out there. It is on the ships, and it is on the aircraft, it is in the other states.”
“We have to do everything we can to get ourselves vaccinated to protect ourselves.”
More than 46,000 people in their 30s have registered their interest to get vaccinated.
Health Minister Roger Cook said he hoped the rollout could be expanded to people aged under 30 “very shortly.”
He insisted the rollout was picking up momentum with a record 57,000 vaccines administered last week.
Western Australia Health has reported no new cases of Covid-19 overnight. The state’s total Covid-19 cases remain at 1058. Western Australia Health is monitoring 10 active Covid-19 cases: two in hotel quarantine, five cases onboard the MV Darya Krishna, one on board the MV BBC California, and two MV Darya Krishna crew members remain in hospital.
One MV Darya Krishna crew member is in a stable conditioned intensive care unit; the other is stable on a respiratory ward.
To date, 1039 people have recovered from the virus in Western Australia.
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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