Hospital bins Covid vaccine

Healthcare workers shun vaccine over blood clots

PRECIOUS stocks of AstraZeneca vaccine were thrown out from a Fremantle Hospital clinic when there weren’t enough people booked in for appointments, says a woman who accompanied her elderly mother for her jab.

The White Gum Valley resident, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of her mother’s second needle being jeopardised, says that given shortages of the vaccine across the country, she was shocked when nurses told her they’d have to dump unused vaccines because they couldn’t be stored once opened.

“We got there at 11.20am and there was virtually no one else there, just one lady who’d had her vaccine and another gentleman who was booked in at 11.45,” the woman told the Herald.

“The lady at the clinic said each vaccine had 10 doses, and they had to be used by 6pm, but with nobody else booked in they were going to close up and throw it in the bin.”

Concerned about the waste of the vaccine, she offered to promote the clinic amongst friends who work in health services or were old enough to meet the federal government’s criteria for Covid immunisation.

Encouraged by the nurses she put up a Facebook post, but her contacts immediately started reporting that Fremantle Hospital was no longer coming up as an option.

When they contacted the hospital itself, they were told the vaccinations would only be made available to healthcare workers.

“I must have been the only one who got that little window when you could book in without being a healthcare worker,” she said, although she said the gentleman who followed her mother was clearly retirement age.

The Herald didn’t have much luck getting information from the Health Department about what happened.

Initially a spokesperson from the department’s Covid team at head office said to contact the South Metropolitan Health Service which runs Fremantle Hospital.

SMHS’s media representative said they’d been told only head office could deal with Covid-related enquiries, but offered to clarify who was responsible. 

She came back a short time later confirming she’d be the point of contact.

In the end the email came directly from head office, but after almost two days of waiting the unattributed comment wasn’t very enlightening.

“While this query was referred to the SMHS, WA Health has also continued to follow-up your first enquiry today and cannot establish the veracity of the claim presented,” was all they could muster.

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard revealed on Thursday that there’d be a “fairly dramatic” … “70 to 80 per cent” drop in his state’s health workers turning up to vaccination appointments amidst fears 

of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“They’re cancelling or not coming,” Mr Hazzard said.

While vaccines might be going begging in the health system, the Herald has heard reports that some GP clinics are so under the pump they’re refusing to vaccinate people who aren’t already on their books.

One Coogee woman in her 80s and suffering diabetes and asthma, tried to book into a new GP clinic because her regular doctor wasn’t able to comply with storage requirements for the vaccine and wasn’t included in the roll-out. However, when she turned up for her appointment, was left frustrated because they were only offering vaccinations to existing clients because they only had limited supply.

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