The redirection of Pfizer vaccines from regional communities to Year 12 students in Greater Sydney won't leave residents in Griffith vulnerable according to the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network.
With Pfizer hot in demand but short in supply, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that up to 40,000 Pfizer doses originally set for regional areas would be redirected to HSC students to allow for a safe return to face-to-face learning in their final weeks of school.
The MPHN said Pfizer supplies at GPs and vaccination hubs will be unaffected.
"MPHN would like to confirm none of the Murrumbidgee region general practices participating in the national COVID-19 vaccination rollout, or any of the five Murrumbidgee region Commonwealth vaccination hubs at Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Deniliquin, Gundagai or Young have been impacted or affected by changes announced by the NSW Government in relation to movement of Pfizer vaccine doses from regional areas to Greater Sydney," the MPHN's acting CEO Julie Redway said.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District said regional communities would still be able to book in for vaccinations.
"GPs continue to supply Pfizer vaccinations in regional NSW, and their supplies from the federal government are unaffected by this reallocation," an MLHD spokesperson said.
"AstraZeneca also remains available from GPs, NSW Health clinics and a growing number of pharmacies."
Even so, Member for Murray Helen Dalton condemned the decision, saying it would cause 'further delays and frustrations' for regional residents wanting to get vaccinated, and would leave communities 'vulnerable'.
"The NSW Government has already downgraded rural health, our hospitals are in crisis," Mrs Dalton said.
"We would never cope with a COVID-19 outbreak.
"All the hospitals in the Murrumbidgee region have a combined total of just six ventilators."
Duty Member of the NSW Legislative Council Wes Fang said that he understood why locals were disappointed in the decision but there were a number of factors which needed to be considered.
"The year 12 students in Sydney who will now receive these reallocated vaccines deserve to finish their HSC safely, much like those in rural and regional communities," Mr Fang said.
Mr Fang said the decision was based upon 'equity and fairness' and should not be a matter of 'city versus country'.
"This shouldn't be a political issue, it is about supporting those in need and if the roles were reversed regional communities would also take right and appropriate action."
Additional doses of Pfizer will continue to arrive in Australia in coming weeks to account for the continued outbreak of the highly contagious Delta strain of COVID-19.
To check your vaccine eligibility or book an appointment please visit the Australian Government vaccine eligibility checker.
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