An Indigenous Broome nurse has become the first frontline healthcare worker in the Kimberley to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Senior nurse and Nyikina Nyul Nyul woman Emily Hunter was administered the Pfizer vaccine at Broome Regional Hospital’s vaccination clinic as the region’s rollout started yesterday. Speaking just minutes before receiving her vaccine, Ms Hunter said she was proud to be the first person in the region to get the jab. “12 months ago everyone was terrified about what was going to happen — no one knew anything about COVID-19,” she said. “So I’m more than happy to be the first vaccination for the Kimberley, and I hope everyone follows suit.” Ms Hunter received her jab as part of phase 1A of the rollout, which will see frontline healthcare workers, international port workers and border workers prioritised. WA Country Health Service Kimberley regional public health physician Dr Pippa May said it was a momentous occasion for the Kimberley region. “This is a real pivotal moment and certainly a sobering moment for us in the Kimberley region. It was only twelve months ago we had active cases in the Kimberley and among our healthcare workers,” she said. “Science has triumphed, it’s an amazing achievement to be able to deliver the COVID vaccination to the public and in-particularly those most at risk.” Dr May urged anyone with questions about the rollout to consult their general practitioner. “As more doses become available we’ll rollout to subsequent phases — including elderly people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those with chronic diseases,” she said. “People will receive their invitation to get vaccinated, and then would visit our online booking system, VaccinateWA. “Subsequent to that the nurse will bring you into the clinic, you would receive you vaccination and then wait 15 minutes in the post-vaccination area. It’s a really simple process which will only take about 30 minutes out of your day.” When asked about fears the vaccine had not been tested thoroughly enough, Dr May urged the public not to take advice from social media. “There is a lot of noise that comes through on social media, but what people need to know is that millions and millions of doses have been given worldwide, including to other Indigenous populations,” she said. “We’re still learning a lot from other countries about the importance of COVID vaccinations and how it might prevent infection and onward transmition, however, what we know is that across all populations that it has been provided, it does what it was primarily intended to do — prevent serious COVID infection and hospitalisation.” A course of the vaccine requires two shots to ensure its effectiveness. The rollout is expected to see approximately 160 people vaccinated at the Broome Hospital this week. During the rollout, Broome Hospital will act as a hub for vaccines to be sent to other communities around the Kimberley.