15 May 2022

UPDATED: ACT COVID-19 cases surpass 50,000 mark; airport vaccination clinic closes its doors

| Lottie Twyford
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr opened the Canberra Airport precinct COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic in June 2021. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

UPDATED 2 pm: A spokesperson for ACT Health has this afternoon confirmed the closure of the airport mass vaccination clinic.

According to ACT Health, the clinic was only ever intended to be open for six weeks to assist with high demand at the AIS clinic, particularly for boosters due to the reduced booster interval introduced by ATAGI.

“This also enabled the AIS clinic to maintain its capacity for first dose vaccines for 5 to 11 year-olds,” the spokesperson said.

ACT Health said the AIS clinic is now able to manage demand for boosters alone.

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12 pm: With 692 new cases confirmed by ACT Health today, the ACT has now recorded more than 50,000 COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began.

In total, there have officially been 50,214 cases of COVID-19 since 12 March 2020 when the first case was announced.

The airport mass vaccination clinic also reportedly shut its doors yesterday (28 February).

According to a Twitter user who claimed to work at the clinic, the last dose was administered yesterday afternoon before the clinic shut for good.

ACT Health was unable to verify claims of the clinic’s closure, nor was the office of Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith. However, users cannot book appointments at the airport clinic through the online booking system at MyDHR or over the phone.

ACT Health and Ms Stephen-Smith have been contacted for comment.

The Canberra Airport precinct vaccination clinic opened in June 2021 to administer Pfizer vaccinations. At the time, there was more than a month’s wait to secure a Pfizer shot as the ACT sought a steady vaccine supply.

Although it closed on 5 December 2021, the clinic was re-established in January in the midst of the Territory’s Omicron wave. It was intended to assist with the child vaccination program and the expanded booster roll-out.

At its reopening, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the airport clinic, in conjunction with the AIS mass vaccination clinic, would allow the ACT Government capacity to deliver up to 32,000 jabs a week.

In recent weeks, concerns have been raised about a lag in booster dose uptake, which health authorities said they would investigate further.

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The vaccination rate for the ACT’s 12-plus population remains 98.6 per cent, while 67.8 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged 5 to 11, 78.4 per cent have received one dose.

Today’s caseload has been identified from 310 PCR and 382 RAT results. It takes the ACT’s active caseload to 3389 (1377 PCR and 2012 RAT).

There are 45 people in hospital with COVID; yesterday, there were 44. Nobody is in the ICU in the ACT.

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Interstate, NSW has reported nine deaths overnight and 8874 new cases.

There are now 1098 people in hospital with the virus and 49 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported 18 deaths overnight and an additional 6879 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 255 people hospitalised with the virus and 41 patients in intensive care units in the state.

More to come.

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