A total of 64,000 South West residents have received their first dose of a COVID-19 jab, with vaccination rates expected to increase dramatically after eligibility was expanded to include people aged 16 to 29. About 500 people have been rolling up their sleeves at the WA Country Health Service-run Bunbury Homemaker Centre’s vaccination clinic each day. More than 22,000 jabs have been given at the public facility, according to service COVID vaccine lead Margaret Abernethy. Jabs at this clinic, as well as at GPs, pharmacists, aged care centres and “pop-up clinics” distributing excess doses have brought the South West’s first dose totals to more than 64,000 and second dose totals to about 31,000 people. Ms Abernethy welcomed the expanded criteria and congratulated the huge numbers of South West residents who had already got their jab. “Congratulations to everyone in the South West, they are doing an absolutely amazing job,” Ms Abernethy said. “Lots of bookings were made when eligibility opened up for the 30 to 49 year old age group and we expect the same with the new younger cohort.” She encouraged people who were hesitant to get the vaccine to discuss these concerns with their GP. “If you’re worried, have a discussion with your GP. They will know best which vaccine will suit you best,” she said. Ms Abernethy said vaccination was one very important response to the pandemic, but people needed to keep following health advice on hand washing and physical distancing, getting tested if they had symptoms and staying home. “Just stay at home if you are feeling unwell and if you can work from home,” she said. “Don’t be stoic.” Bunbury Police Station held one of the temporary “pop-up” clinics last week, helping boost jab numbers by using doses which would have otherwise gone to waste. An Aspen Medical Group team had vaccinated staff and residents at Bunbury aged care and disability centres last week, contacting local police to ensure the excess vaccines went to frontline workers. “Through local engagement we identified the local police were an unvaccinated 1b cohort, and as such our teams provided them with COVID-19 vaccinations,” an Aspen Medical spokesperson said. Inspector Martin Voyez from the South West Police District Office said the “pop-up” was a success, helping fulfil community expectations that WA Police officers and staff be fully vaccinated. “We were very pleased that we were able to establish a temporary clinic in Bunbury to get our people vaccinated,” he said. More than 1.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have now been administered in WA. Under the new broadened criteria, people aged 12 years and over with underlying medical conditions, or who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or living in a remote community are also eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.