Mid West shires vary on COVID jab take-up

John FlintMidwest Times
Kate CampbellMidwest Times
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 03: Drawn up syringes containing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines and the empty vial are seen in a tray at the Claremont Showgrounds Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic on May 03, 2021 in Perth, Australia.
Camera IconPERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 03: Drawn up syringes containing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines and the empty vial are seen in a tray at the Claremont Showgrounds Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic on May 03, 2021 in Perth, Australia. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Just over a quarter of people living in the City of Greater Geraldton have been fully vaccinated against COVID, but another Mid West local government has recorded the lowest double-jab rate in the State at a meagre 14.2 per cent.

The vaccine data, which is sourced from the Australian Immunisation Register and accurate up until last Thursday, shows 46.2 per cent of the population aged 15 and over in Geraldton have had their first jab, while 27.4 per cent are fully protected.

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That is middle of the pack when it compares with other local governments of a similar size, with Geraldton faring better than Kalgoorlie-Boulder but lagging behind Albany, Bunbury and Busselton.

Elsewhere in the Mid West, the Shire of Chapman Valley has the lowest rate for people with both doses, with 27.7 per cent with one jab and 14.2 per cent with two.

In the Shire of Irwin, 59.1 per cent have had at least one jab, while 32.2 per cent have had both, while in the Shire of Mingenew 59.7 per cent have had their first dose and 28.8 per cent their second.

Other local shires with available data had a first-jab rate of well over half — Coorow (51.3 per cent with jab one, and 25.1 per cent with jab two) and Dandaragan (56.9 per cent and 31.7 per cent).

Chapman Valley Shire president Anthony Farrell.
Camera IconChapman Valley Shire president Anthony Farrell. Credit: Shire of Chapman Valley/Supplied

Chapman Valley Shire president Anthony Farrell said several factors might be affecting the area’s low vaccination rate, including the busy farming and cyclone recovery schedule and isolation.

“The people I’ve spoken to, and I’m in the same boat myself, we went in and got the AstraZeneca and you have to wait three months for the second one,” he said.

“It’s not like we’re an anti-vaxxer shire or something ... I wouldn’t read too much into it.”

Cr Farrell said it was important everyone played their part to protect themselves and the people around them, particularly those who were vulnerable, by getting vaccinated.

He said most people knew how lucky this part of the world was, with life returning to some normality, evident by the Chapman Valley Agricultural Show being staged this weekend.

“It’s a no-brainer to do it, but I think it’s more the time to get to do it,” he said.

“People have been flat out from everything out here from mice and spraying crops, and clearing up damage from the cyclone and dealing with insurance companies.

People have been flat out from everything out here from mice and spraying crops, and clearing up damage from the cyclone and dealing with insurance companies.

- Chapman Valley Shire president Anthony Farrell

Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said it was pleasing the city’s population was keeping pace with other areas of a similar size and make-up.

“It’s reassuring that people are taking their responsibility to get the jab seriously,” he said. “Some areas did receive their COVID vaccines before Geraldton, so there is a bit of a lag in that regard.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the data would help the Federal Government “turbocharge” the vaccination rollout, and direct support to communities in need.

Premier Mark McGowan said it was “good news” 50 per cent of WA had received at least one dose, but acknowledged stark divides in inoculation rates across the State, including some regional areas.

WA has the lowest two-dose rate in the country at 29.1 per cent. The national average is 33.7 per cent.

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