Access to a wider variety of vaccines and government mandates have led to better uptake of COVID-19 jabs in the Pilbara, according to a Hedland pharmacist. South Hedland Pharmacy this month administered its 1000th COVID-19 vaccination, four months after jabs began rolling out to pharmacies in Australia. Since July pharmacies have been able to deliver the AstraZeneca jab, and more recently the Moderna vaccination has also been made available to outlets. South Hedland Pharmacy owner Cameron Unsworth said the Moderna vaccine coming online was one of two key turning points in boosting low vaccination rates in the Pilbara. “The other milestone which was important in terms of uptake was the government mandating resource workers to be fully vaccinated, that has seen a real push,” he said. “Most of the feedback we are getting has been really positive because people are happy for the access. “We have been asking people as they present ‘have you had your COVID vaccination’ and we view our role as a public health role, rather than a business role.” Mr Unsworth said vaccine commander Chris Dawson had been impressed with the number of people presenting to pharmacies on his recent Pilbara trip. As of October 18 20,278 people in the Pilbara had received their first vaccine, and a further 11,500 had been fully vaccinated. At 4228 jabs per 10,000 people it remains the lowest vaccine uptake in WA. Access to jabs in the Pilbara has been improved this month with the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination disability hub in the region. Supported by the National Disability Insurance Agency, bookings are now available for all NDIS participants through the Karratha vaccination disability hub, which will run until October 24. NDIA spokesperson Shannon Rees encouraged all eligible participants and their carers to get the vaccine. “Protecting the health and wellbeing of people with disability, who we know can be at higher risk of COVID-19 infection, is our highest priority,” NDIA spokesperson Shannon Rees said. She said support was available to help people get vaccinated. “It is important NDIS participants are supported to access vaccinations as they can be more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. “We know there are challenges for some participants in booking and accessing vaccinations so there are a number of supports available to participants who can be vaccinated to do so.” All NDIS participants aged 12 years and over and their carers are eligible to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Another hub will open in Port Hedland on October 28 and will run until November 3.