Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service will be offering COVID-19 vaccinations to local Indigenous people in late April, an NT Health spokesperson has confirmed.
Wurli Wurlinjang is the first, and so far only health service in Katherine which will offer COVID-19 vaccines to people who are not frontline workers or aged care residents.
A spokesperson from Wurli Wurlinjang said they will offer COVID-19 jabs to their clients aged 50 and older, as part of Phase 1B of the national vaccine rollout.
The spokesperson said Wurli Wurlinjang started vaccinating their staff last week as part of Phase 1A of the rollout, which focused on frontline workers around Australia.
Last month, the Federal Government revealed an online booking system for vaccine appointments, however no local service was offered in Katherine with the closest clinics located in Darwin.
The town's two brand new private GP clinics have both ruled out signing up to join the national vaccine rollout in the short term.
NT Health did not say if Wurli Wurlinjang are offering AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines.
The Wurli Wurlinjang spokesperson urged eligible people to keep an eye on the health service's Facebook page to stay updated on when they can get the jab.
The Facebook page can be found here.
General community is still waiting for COVID-19 jabs
However, Katherine's general community is still waiting for access to either one of the COVID-19 vaccines being used in Australia.
An NT Health spokesperson said the rare cases of blood clotting linked to AstraZeneca jabs have not led to a delay in the establishment of a community clinic.
The rare blood clots led to a change in the Federal Government's health advice last week, and the Pfizer jab is now the preferred option for people under the age of 50.
However, last week NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles conceded the government will have to "recalibrate all vaccination plans", as the NT was relying on AstraZeneca jabs to vaccinate people in remote communities and towns such as Katherine.
Ms Fyles did not say when the new rollout plan would be made public or how much Pfizer vaccine was in the NT.
"It will certainly have an impact, we do have challenges other jurisdictions don't have," she told reporters last Friday.
"Ours is not a large population but it is a small population in a large geographical area... because we don't have community transmission we can calmly work through this."
Planning for the Katherine community vaccine clinic has been ongoing since March, with no start date confirmed by NT Health, despite the national vaccine rollout starting on February 22.
The NT Health spokesperson said at this stage, Katherine does not have a GP clinic participating in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as the town did not have a private GP between October 2020 and March 2021.
"Detailed planning is underway in collaboration with the NT Primary Health Network and local Aboriginal health organisations to ensure Phase 1B eligible groups in Katherine have access to the COVID-19 vaccine," the NT Health spokesperson said.
The Federal Government also claim COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out in several unnamed Katherine aged care facilities.
An earlier version of this story included incorrect information supplied to the Katherine Times by NT Health about the timeline of the vaccine rollout to Indigenous people in Katherine. This information has been changed.
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