Blue Mountains reaches 70 per cent vaccination milestone
Community figures, small business owners and elected representatives have come together to encourage locals to get vaccinated, as new data reveals the Blue Mountains community have reached a significant vaccination milestone.
Data from the Australian Government shows that, as of 27 August 2021, 70.2% of people in the Blue Mountains Local Government Area have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Under the Morrison Government’s National Plan, which all states and territories have agreed to, once 70 and 80 per cent vaccination thresholds are reached at a state-wide level, lockdowns and restrictions can be minimised and the country safely reopened for travel domestically and internationally.
Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said getting vaccinated is the pathway out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The best thing we can all do is make sure we keep positive, encourage one another to get vaccinated, and stick to the National Plan,” Senator Payne said.
“While the vaccination rate is very promising, I urge our community to keep going because every vaccine administered gets us closer to unlocking Australia.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and the Aerotropolis and Blue Mountains resident Shayne Mallard MLC emphasised that vaccination is the key to re-opening and unlocking Australia.
“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated to protect yourself, your family and your community,” Mr Mallard said.
“I am fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca as are my partner and my elderly parents and there are still plenty of AstraZeneca vaccines available across the State.”
“To those in the Blue Mountains who have been vaccinated I say thank you and I urge those who haven’t, do not delay and book your vaccination appointment today.”
Pharmacist Kim Stubbs, co-owner of the Blaxland Day ‘n’ Night Pharmacy, which is providing a COVID-19 immunisation service, praised the community’s vaccination response.
“The Blue Mountains community has embraced the opportunity to be vaccinated via local GPs and pharmacists and it is of no surprise that we now have more than 70% of our eligible community with one dose of the vaccine,” Ms Stubbs said.
“Pharmacy is ready to be an integral part of the next stage of the national vaccination effort, vaccinating adolescents aged 12 to 17 years with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are proud to be part of this important national vaccination program.”
David Smith, President of the Blue Mountains Football Club, said his members were eager to get back on the field.
“Like other local sporting clubs, we all want to see the safe return of community sport in the Mountains,” Mr Smith said.
“I know I’m not alone when I say that my kids are really missing Saturday sport and all that comes with it, especially the sense of being connected.
“Our best hope against the pandemic is the COVID vaccine, which is why I want to personally encourage our community to throw their support behind the vaccination effort.”
Mark Barton, President of Business BM, welcomed the latest vaccination data.
“It just shows that the people of the Blue Mountains have a strong view on personal health and keeping one another safe,” Mr Barton said.
“The idea that we can soon be opening up businesses and the community safely is encouraging to say the least.”
Harriet McCready, co-founder of Mountain Culture Beer Co in Katoomba, was optimistic about opening up.
“It's been a gruelling few months and the thought we're so close to opening back up again is just the good news we need right now,” Ms McCready said.
“Of course, we're excited to get our business back on track, but we're more excited to see people back in the brewpub, enjoying time with their friends and family because I think we're all really craving that human connection.”
Emma MacMahon, Director at Dryridge Estate in Megalong Valley, said she and her husband were looking forward to welcoming people back to their cellar door.
“Simon and I are ecstatic to hear that so many Blue Mountains residents are getting vaccinated,” Ms MacMahon said.
“This is such an outstanding and important step towards opening all the small businesses, including ours, in our wonderful community and we are bursting with excitement to start hosting customers again.”
Deb Wells, President of the Blue Mountains Rhododendron Society of NSW, said the iconic gardens have been closed to general admission, with the usually busy Spring period now in jeopardy.
“Our member volunteers are all in the older, more vulnerable age group and cannot be put at risk, which is why we need Australians to get vaccinated and the lockdown eased in order to re-open the gates to one of the Mountains’ most loved attractions,” Ms Well said.
On 3 September, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new vaccine deal with the United Kingdom, which will see an additional 4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrive in Australia. This comes on top of the 500,000 doses secured in agreement with Singapore, earlier this week. The two agreements take Australia’s supply of Pfizer for the month of September to over 9 million doses, more than the months of June, July and August combined.
To date, according to the Australian Immunisation Register, the majority of doses administered across the nation have been through Commonwealth channels, such as at GPs or community pharmacies.
As of 4 September, the first dose vaccination rate for New South Wales is 73.5%. The second dose vaccination rate is 40.8%.