COVID jab milestone hit in Geraldton as 90 per cent of residents received first dose

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
State Government COVID vaccine mandates came into effect on Wednesday.
Camera IconState Government COVID vaccine mandates came into effect on Wednesday. Credit: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Geraldton has hit a COVID vaccine milestone with more than 90 per cent of the population reporting to have received at least one jab, but experts suggest this figure is not likely to budge without further mandates.

Federal Government data shows 91.3 per cent of eligible City of Greater Geraldton residents have had their first dose of the vaccine as of November 29, with 76.2 per cent reporting to have received their second jab.

Across the Mid West, 88.3 per cent of the population has had one COVID jab and 73.8 per cent already have their second dose. Aboriginal vaccination rates remain significantly lower than those among non-Indigenous people, with just 36.3 per cent of the Geraldton Aboriginal population having received two COVID doses as of November 30.

The local statistics are on par with State averages, with 85.5 per cent and 75.2 per cent of West Australians having received one and two doses of the vaccine respectively.

Pharmacy 194 owner Paul Buise said he had recently seen a “second surge” of bookings from people who fell under the State Government’s vaccine mandates.

“We have been flat out over the last couple of weeks trying to get those ones who have come in and are a little bit hesitant or wanted to wait and then (government mandates) have pushed them over the edge to make that decision to come and get vaccinated,” he said.

Mr Buise said many of the remaining 10 per cent of people yet to get the jab may not be against vaccination generally but have concerns about the COVID vaccines. He said others were “philosophically anti-vax” and not likely to roll up their sleeves.

“We have conversations with people all the time about the data and the information we have, how that information is evolving, but it is just not enough to change their minds,” he said.

While he did not wish to speculate, Mr Buise said historic vaccination data suggested Geraldton was not likely to see COVID vaccine figures rise much higher.

“We usually get to the low 90s in the percentage of the population who have their flu vaccine annually and I dare say we would have similar numbers (of COVID vaccination),” he said.

“If the Government wants higher vaccination rates ... then it is the case of they are going to have to make it mandatory.”

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