St. Mary’s Cathedral in Perth sets up COVID vaccination clinic as WA prepares for February reopening
Malls, hardware stores and mosques have hosted COVID-19 vaccination clinics – and now a cathedral in the heart of Perth’s CBD is helping support Western Australia’s deployment.
- Sainte-Marie Cathedral has opened a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic
- Church members say clinic is for the “common good”
- Public health experts say more targeted messaging is needed too
St. Mary’s Cathedral, near the Royal Perth Hospital, is the latest pop-up clinic to open in hopes of attracting both parishioners and members of the public.
Curtin University professor of global public health Jaya Dantas said she expected the state government to continue using pop-up clinics throughout the deployment.
“When vaccines are distributed to people, it is easier for them to get vaccinated, so removing some of the logistical and transport barriers would also help,” she said.
âThese pop-up clinics would be in community centers, in places like libraries, in places like religious places.
“It means people gather in these places and there are more opportunities for people to just come in and get the shot.”
About two dozen people were at the cathedral clinic when it opened today, with more expected in the afternoon.
The Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Sean Fernandez, received his booster dose of the vaccine.
He said it was important for the church to play its part in rolling out the vaccine.
âThis is an important place in our church in Perth, and we want to reach out to Catholics in the community and the community at large, and show that we support this,â he said.
“We’re used to being behind health efforts and supporting the community, and that’s only part of that process.”
Opening of a clinic “for the common good”
Some Catholics have opposed vaccination because of concerns about the history of vaccine research.
“In some parts of the Catholic community there is concern because at the very beginning of the development of medical interventions … which ultimately led to these vaccines, there was some involvement of cell lines derived from aborted children,” said the Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costelloe, said.
“And of course, the Catholic Church, our position on abortion is very, very clear, so there was a bit of confusion about it.”
But Archbishop Costelloe said the Church’s position on immunization was clear.
âIn our Catholic approach to things, we don’t just talk about what I want or what is best for me or my rights,â he said.
âWe have a fundamental principle that we make decisions on the basis of what is right for the common good.
During the week, a priest at a church in the southern suburbs of Perth wrote in his Christmas post – published in a local newspaper – that people were being forced to get the COVID-19 vaccine for fear of losing their jobs or not to be allowed to do so. to travel.
Archbishop Costelloe acknowledged that some within the Church would have different views, but the official position was clear.
âThe important thing for us, having this here, is to indicate what the formal position of the Archdiocese is,â he said.
“Some people may have difficulty with this position, but it is the formal position of the Church.”
“It’s just the convenience”
Susana and Rohan Gay visited the clinic to receive their booster dose.
Both supported the idea of ââusing pop-up clinics to bring the vaccine closer to people.
“[At GP clinics], we have to make an appointment and all that, where this one we can just show up, âMs. Gay said.
“It’s just the convenience, it’s close to where we live.”
Keith Claessen was also going to seek his recall.
âWe come here for the Christmas service mainly,â he said.
“For me it’s been exactly five months, we thought we would get it ASAP.”
A targeted message is important: expert
Professor Dantas has been following the vaccine rollout closely and said smaller clinics would be important – not only for the main rollout, but also for the booster doses.
She said part of the advantage was that they were often in places familiar to people, like drugstores.
âSame thing with the community center, or in another pop-up clinic where there will be people who will give the health messages at the same time as the booster injections. “
But concerns remain over vaccination rates in some communities, with double-dose rates for Indigenous Australians over the age of 15 in some regional areas as low as 42%.
These communities also need to receive more attention, according to Professor Dantas.
âWe have engaged with our community health workers, but we need to do it in a much more effective wayâ¦ where there is very little buy-in,â she said.
“So have targeted messages, for example, in indigenous communities or in migrant communities, where the rates are below 50%.
“We need to increase those immunization rates, and that’s where we need to do targeted interventions or messages to increase those immunization rates.”
Pop-up clinics represent a sixth of recent doses
WA has used pop-up clinics in shopping malls, schools, libraries, and even Perth stadium events to try to increase the state’s vaccination rate.
In the past 11 days, 3,619 vaccines have been administered at these clinics, according to WA Health.
That’s less than a sixth of the 27,187 doses that were administered on Friday alone.
But a spokesperson for WA Health said that didn’t tell the whole story.
âMany pop-up clinics target community groups with the lowest vaccination rates,â she said.
âThe clinics were successful because they allowed people to receive their first, second and booster doses.
“These are people who protect themselves, their loved ones and the community from the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”
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