Week-Long ‘Back to School Vaccination Blitz’ As Schools Reopen

By Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang is a health writer for The Epoch Times, based in New York. She mainly covers stories on COVID-19 and the healthcare system and has a bachelors in biomedicine from The University of Melbourne. Contact her at marina.zhang@epochtimes.com.
January 31, 2022Updated: January 31, 2022

Many states in Australia have introduced week-long vaccination pop up clinics for 5-year-olds and older as part of the “Back to School Vaccination Blitz” as most schools reopen on Jan. 31.

Both Victoria and South Australia (SA) have set up vaccination walk-in hubs to boost the vaccination take-up rate across the country, which is currently sitting at 39.8 percent.

Victoria has opened 15 vaccination hubs at local primary schools on Jan. 29 and 30, with 15 other schools opening on Feb. 5 and 6.

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews said that “now” was the time for parents to get their children vaccinated.

“We’re making it easier than ever to get jabs in kids’ arms in a friendly environment, close to home,” Andrews said on Jan. 27.

SA has introduced mobile vaccination clinics that open for one day at designated areas for children 5 to 11 and clinics for Australians 12 and older.

Tasmania and Queensland are opening school a week later compared all the other jurisdictions, with school opening on Feb. 9 and Feb. 7 respectively.

Both states have set up clinics over the last weekend of January and will be running through the first week of February just before school starts for the two states.

Health Minister for Tasmania Jeremy Rockliff said Jan. 30 that the state will be doing a “Back to School Vax Blitz across the State with pop up clinics and walk ins” over the week starting Jan. 31.

“They will be heavily promoted as we encourage parents to get their children vaccinated before they head back to the classroom,” he said.

Every day, different walk-in vaccination hubs will be opened at different areas.

Rockliff intends to boost vaccination rates the week before the school holidays as schools reopen in Tasmania on Feb. 9.

“Parents are seeking flexibility in school holidays so walk ins provide opportunity for those to get their children vaccinated before school goes back at a time that suits them.”

QLD premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced 50 extra vaccination hubs set up at schools after examining vaccination take up across the state on Jan. 28.

“We’ve identified some areas where we’d like to see more increasing vaccination. So we’ve gone through and identified more than 50 schools,” she said.

“It does mean that over the weekend, you can pop into these local schools and also get vaccinated so we’re really keen to get as many of our 5 to 11 year-olds vaccinated before school goes back.”

The vaccination clinics opened from Jan. 29 and will stay open until Feb. 6 before schools open on Feb. 7.

Speaking on Sunrise on Jan. 31, Lieutenant General John Frewen said that although the vaccination take-up rate has been quick, but “there is more to go” for a children’s vaccination rate of around 40 percent for 5 to 11 year-olds.

“There are there are walk-ins available every day so I know there’s a lot going on with kids as they get back to school and all the things parents have got to do. And there’s going to be additional opportunities as well,” Frewen said.

“Some of the states and territories are looking at hubs in and around schools as well. So, there’s plenty of vaccines there. There’s plenty of opportunities. It’s really just about getting them in.”

As of Jan. 31, 39.8 percent of children aged 5 to 11 (pdf) have received their first dose of the vaccine and 38.4 percent of Australians over 18 have received their booster shots.

As of Jan. 31, the interval for booster shots is effectively reduced from 4 months to 3 months across the nation. Most states have already implemented the change prior to the date