Canberra’s AIS Arena COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic will close on 31 May as the ACT’s high vaccination rates and current low demand mean staff can be redeployed across the healthcare system, the Territory’s health minister announced today.
Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the clinic had played a vital role in the ACT’s COVID-19 response and greatly contributed to Canberra being one of the most vaccinated cities in the world.
“With more than 97% of eligible Canberrans having already received their two primary COVID vaccine doses and more than 75% of those aged 16 and over up-to-date with their booster, a mass clinic like the AIS Arena is no longer necessary,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.
“Canberrans now prefer to receive their vaccinations from their GP – consistent with our advice to discuss vaccination timing with a medical practitioner, particularly for those at higher risk of illness or for those who’ve recently recovered from COVID-19.
“Getting vaccinated is still as important as ever, however, and I encourage anyone who is eligible for a COVID‑19 vaccine and has been meaning to come to the AIS Arena clinic to walk in and get vaccinated before it closes – no appointment is needed.”
The AIS Arena clinic has administered close to 286,000 COVID-19 vaccinations since opening in September last year and at its busiest, administered almost 23,000 doses weekly.
“Thank you to all the health professionals and staff who have done incredible work at the AIS clinic to serve the ACT community. We could not have achieved our world leading vaccination rates without their continued dedication and efforts,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.
Current health advice is that that people should wait three months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection to get their COVID vaccine booster dose to achieve a better immune response and longer protection from reinfection.
Free COVID-19 vaccines continue to be widely available from participating GPs and pharmacies. Other ACT Government vaccination services – including the Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic and the Equity to Access Program – will continue to offer specialised services to Canberrans who need them.
Patients who have an AIS Arena COVID-19 vaccination booking from June onwards will be contacted by ACT Health to make alternative arrangements, including moving the appointment forward if possible.