A COVID vaccine clinic opening especially for children this weekend is only partially booked, with just two days left before it’s scheduled to run.

At the point of publication, bookings for the Saturday clinic at 20 McLachlan Street, Horsham, had only reached one quarter of its potential capacity.

Grampians region vaccine rollout coordinator Genevieve Lilley said the Saturday clinic was opening especially to cater for 5-11 year old children who still needed to start their COVID vaccination program.

“We’ve scheduled this additional clinic because we weren’t able to get a good number of children vaccinated before school starts and we’re already seeing positive cases in schools around the region,” Ms Lilley said.

“It might be a few weeks before we can get into all the schools so we really need everyone who can come in this weekend to get on the phone or the booking site and make an appointment,” she said.

“Many nurses and reception staff have stepped up to help run the clinic on Saturday and they hope to be handing out a lot of vaccines to make it worthwhile.

“Most of them are mums too and want the kids to be protected, to stay in school, and not to bring COVID back into the home.”

Ms Lilley said the vaccine team had been working extremely hard to make sure the community was safe from COVID.

“It’s been a really tough start to the year with so much going on, but we’re hoping this Saturday will also be a busy day,” she said.

“I guess we are now asking the community to return the favour a bit and support our immunisation nurses by helping us to get their children to the clinic.

“We will be doing popup vaccine clinics at schools over the next few months but if we get a good head start here and potentially only have to do half the students, then we can get around the schools much quicker.”

Ms Lilley said the start to the year had been a frantic pace.

“With ongoing changes to the vaccine rollout – boosters have been brought forward, children aged 5-11 became eligible, soon the 16-17 year olds will also need a third dose and health care workers have a deadline for theirs.

“We are flat out trying to get all this done, so we’re really pleading to the community to do their bit and come to us this Saturday.

“If parents are due for a booster we can do them as well on the day.

“We have limited days when we can run clinics and need to make the most of the days we have.

“If parents are waiting for school visits for their kids to get vaccinated, we are asking them to please book in for this Saturday if they possibly can.”

Bookings are made via the central booking line 1800 675 398, or online at coronavirus.vic.gov.au

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