The Civic Centre’s Gratwick Hall has become a mass vaccination clinic this week offering walk-in Pfizer jabs to anyone over 12-years-old until Sunday in an effort to bolster slow vaccination rates in the Pilbara. From 8am to 8pm each day locals will have chance to inoculate themselves against COVID-19 as part of a Commonwealth and State initiative. The clinic has the capacity to vaccinate up to 900 people per day, with a shuttle bus offering free transportation from South to Port Hedland every hour. Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said increasing vaccination rates in the Pilbara was vital with three out of ten people in the region having received at least their first jab. “We have seen nationally and internationally people have become very ill and many have died and that is dominated by people who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated,” he said. “We know across the Pilbara this is one of the lowest vaccination uptakes in the country. I think their is a fair bit of apathy out there that says ‘we haven't had COVID-19 here, we don’t need to worry’. “(Death rates) are largely dominated by people who have not been vaccinated or who are partially vaccinated. Don’t wait for COVID-19 to come here to get vaccinated.” Indigenous officers and nurses will meet with elders to break down cultural barriers and decrease hesitancy to encourage vaccinations amongst First Nations communities. The clinic will complement the arrival of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine to the region, eligible to anyone aged 12 and over with about 200 appointments available in the North West each week through Pharmacy 777. Town of Port Hedland chief executive Carl Askew urged locals to “roll up” their sleeves for the community to vaccinate against COVID-19 and protect the vulnerable regions. “The Town was approached by the Government of Western Australia WA Country Health Service (WACHS) for a venue and we are doing our part to support our community,” he said. “Hedland’s first COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic will be in the Civic Centre’s Gratwick Hall from October 4 to 10, and will be open between 8.00am to 8.00pm, where the Pfizer vaccine will be administered for people aged 12 years and over. “The Department of Health have advised that Vaccines are safe, effective and are our best line of defence in protecting our communities against the global COVID-19 pandemic. “With WA’s hard border arrangements proposed to ease in the new year, we must get vaccinated now to be prepared for a potential scenario of increasing cases across the state.” The vaccination hub comes as pressure mounts across the region to increase vaccination rates still lagging behind the rest of the country. Town of Port Hedland Mayor Peter Carter said he looked forward to receiving his first dose of the vaccine and encouraged everyone to take the opportunity to get vaccinated. The clinic will close 8pm Sunday October 10 before travelling to Karratha next week.