Locals who booked in to a Western Local Health District clinic to receive their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week can expect a phone call offering Astra Zeneca in coming days.
On Thursday, Western Local Health District Chief Executive Scott McLachlan confirmed the first doses of Pfizer planned for those clinics were among those to be diverted to Sydney for Year 12 students.
The two-day Parkes clinic, which booked out early this week, isn't cancelled but will not be able to offer the first dose of Pfizer.
"We will be offering opportunities for people to get Astra Zeneca through those clinics, they were going to be mainly Pfizer, if people are impacted we'll be in contact with them to offer alternatives for their vaccination," Mr McLachlan said.
He added that the roll-out of Pfizer through the GP network has not been impacted, and the call team would try to support people to find another appointment through those networks if needed.
"Now we know there's a lot of GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services, respiratory clinics right across the region getting supplies of both Pfizer and Astra Zeneca that means there should be a lot of opportunity across the whole of western NSW to get vaccinated," he said.
Mr McLachlan appealed for community members to be respectful when speaking with health staff or attending vaccination clinics.
"We have seen some incredibly unsavory behaviour in the last 24-48 hours, particularly in our vaccination centres (in Orange, Bathurst and Dubbo)," he said.
"I have to say it's some of the most disappointing behaviour I've ever seen or heard of.
"This is our time for everyone to be patient, show some compassion and understanding and, as a community, we have to go through this together."
He also thanked frontline staff working in the vaccination and testing clinics, calling them "heroes... in every sense of the word."
Parkes mayor Ken Keith, OAM, is encouraging residents to get vaccinated.
"We need to encourage everyone in the community to get the vaccine, either Pfizer or AstraZeneca, having some coverage is more important than none at all," Cr Keith said.
"I wasn't very happy at all with the announcement vaccine was going to be sent to Sydney to vaccinate students," Cr Keith told the Champion Post.
"Who's more vulnerable?" Cr Keith asked.
"If COVID gets out here, its going to be the 50 and 60 year-olds that want the Pfizer who are going to be the most susceptible rather than a 17-year-old in Sydney.
"You can understand kids doing exams are under pressure but there are a lot of business people under pressure just as well."
Cr Keith, who has had his first AstraZeneca shot, said everyone should also consider the AstraZeneca vaccine.
"The media has a lot to answer for, they've all jumped on the blood clotting risk but haven't put the other side of the story that the chances of dying from COVID are much higher," he said.
"There are other reasons why people get blood clots every day without having the vaccine."