Ky clinic reopens

Reopening: Kyabram District Health Service clinic at Kyabram Community and Leaning Centre has reopened. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Fears of people from Kyabram being forced to travel to Shepparton or Echuca for COVID-19 booster shots have been put to rest with the reopening of the Kyabram District Health Service clinic at Kyabram Community and Leaning Centre on Monday.

The vaccination clinic was closed in December once the town had reached the necessary double vaccination levels, but its future was uncertain until a Victorian Department of Health green light to reopen the clinic was given to KDHS last week.

COVID booster shots will now be administered at the clinic three days a week, an immediate strong response to its reopening reflecting the high level of anxiety about the Omicron variant in the community.

The clinic will not, however, be immediately providing vaccination for five- to 11-year-olds. Booster shots can only be administered to people 18 years and above, with first and second doses for 12 years and over also available.

KDHS acting chief executive Wendy Ross said the clinic was extremely busy on day one of its reopening and would return to a booking system immediately.

“We reopened on Monday at KCLC. It was really busy straight away,” she said.

“And the bookings have also been quite heavy. At this stage people will only be able to get a booster at the clinic if they have a booking.”

The clinic will be open on Monday and Tuesday from 9.30am to 3.30pm and from 12.30pm until 7.30pm on Thursday.

“We are getting our booster supply through Goulburn Valley Health,“ Ms Ross said.

"The decision to reopen the clinic has come as a result of demand.“

Kyabram was slow out of the blocks when it came to the vaccination process, but Ms Ross said that did not appear to be the case this time round.

“There are cases in the community and people seem to be more aware of how the booster can help,” she said.

The reopening of the KCLC clinic will also ease the burden on chemists and GP clinics, which are only able to accept a certain amount of bookings due to the already busy nature of their businesses.

“The clinic did 111 booster injections on day one,” Ms Ross said.

Andrea Windridge will again manage the facility in her capacity as the KDHS COVID co-ordinator.

Further announcements regarding the booster shots have been made, with a decision to make booster shots mandatory for all healthcare workers and a number of other industries including disability, emergency services and food distribution workers.

"At the moment we can only do booster shots at the KCLC clinic for over 18-year-olds,“ Ms Ross said.

“And they are Pfizer vaccinations only.”

Goulburn Valley Health, which is providing the KCLC clinic with its boosters, has not indicated when the clinic will be opened to five- to 11-year-olds for vaccination.

Ms Ross said the clinic would be operating under strict conditions, with COVID marshals in place to ensure adherence to vaccination protocols.

At KDHS’s aged care facility, visitors have been restricted and are only able to enter the home on compassionate grounds.

Ms Ross said there had been no outbreaks among the 42 residents of the Sheridan Hostel.

"There has, however, been an impact on staff,“ she said.

“They are being as pro-active as possible.”

Reports of health workers going to extreme lengths to ensure they do not contract the virus have included staff choosing to withdraw from the community — apart from when they are working.