More than 70 health professionals at Dubbo have lodged expressions of interest to join Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section (RFDSSE) vaccination teams to help ramp up COVID-19 jabs in vulnerable communities.
RFDSSE advice that it intends to temporarily expand its workforce by up to 20 per cent in response to growing need and demand for vaccinations coincides with a second death from COVID-19 in the western region.
A 70-year-old Indigenous woman and a "much-loved" elder from Enngonia has died at Dubbo Hospital.
In late August the RFDSSE began a recruitment drive for casual employees as COVID-19 spread in the Far West and Western NSW.
The call for help got a quick and "enthusiastic" response from people in the Dubbo and Broken Hill districts with the skills to support pop-up testing and vaccinations particularly in rural and remote communities.
RFDSSE Health Services Manager Dubbo, Sally Loughnan, says it has been "overwhelmed" by the response.
"We expect we will have to increase our medical workforce by between 10 to 20 per cent between now and the end of the year to be able to vaccinate all of our communities," she said.
"We have benefited from people from Dubbo, Broken Hill and nearby areas offering their services to assist the RFDSSE.
We have had more than 70 expressions of interest from Dubbo alone, with nurses, doctors, senior medical and nursing students and pharmacists among those who have reached out to come and join the pop-up vaccination teams.
"In the coming weeks some of these applicants will join our teams on the ground."
Meanwhile, Ms Loughnan said RFDSSE frontline staff had been "working tirelessly to get vaccinations in arms in communities right across NSW".
In August they delivered more than 3000 vaccinations in communities including Wilcannia, Broken Hill, Tullamore and Tibooburra.
"Our staff have gone above and beyond to achieve some incredible numbers," Ms Loughnan said.
"At a recent clinic in Wee Waa three vaccinators were able to cover 360 people. It was a long day but very satisfying to be able to get so many people in that community protected.
"We've also been out in some unique settings such as a shearing shed at a property near Goodooga to vaccinate the local shearing teams and at the same time residents of the local town in that area, the pub at Armatree, and in some cases we have vaccinated people in the street.
"There are still a lot of communities to get to and we will be out for as long as we are needed to conduct vaccinations and testing."
The RFDSSE has bases at Dubbo and Broken Hill.
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