For months, Katherine has been left in the dark on whether a COVID-19 vaccination clinic would be based locally, and despite it recently being confirmed one will be in operation from May 25, Katherine MLA Jo Hersey says for some, it's not as easy as it may appear.
Recent statistics from the Federal Health Department have revealed just 58 per cent of the vaccine allocation to the Northern Territory has been utilised.
Ms Hersey fears figures may remain limited given the difficulty and confusion surrounding bookings at the hub for the local seniors.
"I absolutely applaud the fact we are now getting the vaccine hub. Where they are having it in Katherine is central and that's great, but I don't think there's been much more thought," she said.
"To book, you have to have the internet, you can't just ring and make an appointment because the phone number they give is only revealed once you've made your appointment. You can't rock up to the clinic to make one either.
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"What it gives the community of Katherine is only one option to book in which could potentially deter people from bothering making an appointment. In that case, you're obviously not going to be able to vaccinate as many people as advertised."
Ms Hersey believes it's not just Katherine who finds itself to be a second thought in comparison to city areas, but rather regional, rural and remote areas as a whole.
"The whole thing is just not well thought out for the regions. If you live in Darwin, there's no issue but once things get out to the regions...I don't think Darwin thinks about the complexities of doing things in the regions, which is interesting," Ms Hersey said.
"I think there's a lot of things that go on with providing services to regions that make regional areas on a whole a bit of an afterthought compared to main centres.
"I just don't think people get out and travel to the regions and find out, it doesn't matter what it's about."
Meanwhile, the Northern Territory's Chief Minister, Michael Gunner stated on ABC Radio Darwin on May 18 that figures for the state's rollout are likely to appear "wavy" as they attempt to "hold enough stock for the second shot."
"You'll start to see our numbers become a bit wavy," Mr Gunner said.
"We'll track down as we start doing a lot more remote deliveries of the vaccine. We negotiated with the Australian Government to do one lot of vaccines in remote communities, only going out once instead of repeatedly."
Ms Hersey commented on the statements made by Mr Gunner, citing them as questionable.
"I don't quite understand why you would be rolling it back when yes, as we've said all along, we have Indigenous communities and seniors, those with medical conditions. They're all people waiting to have the jab," she added.
More than than 35,000 vaccines have been administered in the Northern Territory, with approximately 9,000 having received both doses.
The Pfizer vaccine will be available for those under the age of 50 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while AstraZeneca is available on Thursdays.
Selecting your age during the booking process will determine which is the appropriate vaccine for you.
To book an appointment at the Katherine NT Health vaccine clinic, click here.
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