NT's Gunner gets jab amid vaccine fear

·2-min read

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has rolled up his sleeve for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination to allay concerns it could be unsafe.

Dozens of worried Territorians posted messages on Mr Gunner's Facebook page about the jab amid fears it may cause blood clotting.

"I want to give the public every confidence in AstraZeneca and its clinical safety," he told reporters on Monday.

"I had a very professional doctor and I didn't feel the needle at all. I'm feeling okay."

Mr Gunner said he was concerned anti-vaccination campaigners could disrupt the second phase of the rollout across the NT.

"There are some Territorians out there who have had an issue with being vaccinated and want to be sure this vaccine is safe," he said.

"I am worried about what the anti-vaxxers are putting out there and what persuasion they may have over the Not This Vax group."

He urged concerned people to consult their doctor and ask questions about the vaccine if they have fears.

"We can trust our doctors, we can trust the research they do and we can trust their clinical advice," he said.

Mr Gunner acknowledged there were also concerns in remote Indigenous communities about the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"There are some questions around at the moment, around the world, when it comes to vaccinations," he said.

"It's no surprise that people in remote areas might have questions too."

Mr Gunner said public messaging about phase 1b of the vaccine rollout and the AstraZeneca jab would be ramped up in the coming weeks.

NT Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie said some Territorians continued to believe COVID-19 wasn't real or only affected some parts of the population.

"It's important accurate information ... show us that this vaccine is safe," he said.

He said the vaccine information would be released in some Indigenous languages.

Territorians aged 70 and over, Indigenous people and health care workers not vaccinated during phase 1a will be inoculated in the second phase, which started on Monday.

Adults with specified underlying medical conditions and high-risk emergency personnel, such as police, fire, emergency services and meat processing workers will also receive the jab.

Ten GPs and three respiratory clinics will administer the vaccine, with 13 Aboriginal community health organisations to join them in the coming weeks.

NT Health will also open community vaccine clinics in Tennant Creek, Katherine and Gove after GPs in the towns indicated they didn't have the capacity to deliver the program.

More than 4500 people have been given the COVID-19 vaccine in the NT, including 467 Territorians who have received their second dose and are fully vaccinated.