Flying doctor brings vaccines to outback

Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)


COVID-19 vaccines are getting to some of the most remote parts of the country.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Frank Quinlan told a Senate inquiry on Tuesday the service had delivered 21,000 vaccine doses in rural and remote communities.

As well, the RFDS had provided logistical support for the transport of a further 15,000 doses, which were then delivered by local health services.

He said the aviation regulator CASA helpfully streamlined rules to enable the service to continue to cross borders and for staff to move around the country, while maintaining aircraft safety.

The vaccines were provided following direct requests from remote communities or government.

Mr Quinlan said the RFDS’s broader work was also continuing through the use of 77 aircraft and 140 road vehicles.

In the past year there were 320,000 patient contacts, 40,000 aeromedical retrievals and 21,000 primary health clinics.

“We flew 27 million kilometres in 2020 – as we often say, 34 return trips to the moon,” Mr Quinlan said.

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