Hundreds of Pfizer vaccine appointments are already being cancelled in the Hunter New England Health district as the state supports returning Sydney Year 12 students to the classroom.
Many people booked for first vaccinations in the region have been notified their appointments were cancelled via text message or phone calls.
Nigel Fuller, a Walcha resident, was booked to get his first Pfizer vaccination on Wednesday morning in Armidale.
That plan was dashed when he received a text message on Sunday afternoon to advise the jab had been cancelled, and he would be notified when it was again available.
That led to a phone call to secure an appointment and vaccine at the Walcha GP clinic.
"Good luck to that student, and I hope they do well," he said.
"In fact, I hope they do so well they become a doctor and repay the debt by working in regional New South Wales."
NSW Health is redirecting Pfizer vaccines from across the state, a spokesperson told ACM in a short statement.
"People will be contacted directly in the next few days if their booking needs to be rescheduled.
"Around 20,000 HSC students are scheduled for vaccination, and vaccination doses are being redistributed based on available supply from across NSW."
NSW Health said Pfizer supplies to GPs won't be interrupted, as the federal government provides them, and AstraZeneca is available in state clinics and a growing number of pharmacies.
Those who have already had their first Pfizer vaccine and those in the 1a and 1b priority groups will not be affected.
"NSW Health has also authorised pharmacists to offer AstraZeneca vaccination to anyone aged 18 years or over without precautions or contraindications who has had the opportunity for a discussion in relation to the risks and benefits of vaccination, and has provided fully informed consent," NSW Health said.
MP Adam Marshall said the recent State Government decision to redistribute up to 40,000 Pfizer vaccine doses, initially bound for rural and regional NSW, has understandably caused some people concern.
"At the outset, I want to stress this decision only involves the two public vaccination clinics in our region - at Armidale and Moree Hospitals - and I can confirm that no Pfizer doses will be taken from these clinics," Mr Marshall said.
"What the decision does mean for these two vaccination clinics is that scheduled deliveries of fresh Pfizer doses this month will be delayed by four weeks, according to formal advice from Hunter New England Health, hence why hundreds of locals received text messages over the weekend cancelling their appointments."
Mr Marshall said he would continue to monitor Hunter New England Health's adherence to this advice to ensure what has been promised is delivered.
"I realise and fully appreciate this is likely annoying, inconvenient and frustrating for the hundreds of locals who have had their appointments pushed back," he said.
"This is temporary, to fight an emergency down in Sydney and to hopefully stop it before it spreads and crashes through our own front door.
"Make no mistake; we need to do everything we can to combat COVID-19 in Sydney, to crush it and keep it as far away from us as possible.
"I'd much rather us throw everything at it down there, rather than waiting until it reaches us here before we act."
Mr Marshall said the diversion of some of the Pfizer vaccines earmarked for our region was only short term.
"We will continue to see more and more vaccines become available over the next few weeks, and country NSW will be the first to see more vaccines, including us here," Mr Marshall said
"But at the moment, just like when we saw huge bushfires ravaging our region last year, and Sydney firefighting crews came in the hundreds to help us, it's now our turn to do a little to help them."
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