The Doomben Racecourse in Ascot is Now a COVID-19 Vaccination Hub

Just as Queensland reaches a million delivered COVID-19 doses, a new vaccination hub has opened at the Doomben Racecourse in Ascot to facilitate more vaccinations to the Brisbane community.

Ascot’s Doomben Racecourse has become the latest addition to Queensland Health’s constantly-expanding network of COVID-19 vaccination hubs, and according to Health Minister Yvette D’Ath, Doomben is well-equipped and ready to deliver the vaccine to eligible Queenslanders. In total, Queensland Health has expanded its network of vaccination hubs to 18 across the state in total. 

The fact that the establishment was already well-known to many Queenslanders and had good transport links meant that it was easy to access. “It’s the perfect location for our growing network of vaccination hubs, which are vaccinating an ever-growing number of Queenslanders,” said Minister D’Ath. 

Photo credit: Commander Keane/Wikimedia Commons

Queensland Health is focusing on delivering vaccines to people between the ages of 40 and 49 who have registered for the vaccines, as well as residential aged care workers and disability staff. Vaccinations are also available to frontline staff such as health workers, police officers, and paramedics. 

“Today Queensland is set to hit a total of one million COVID vaccination doses delivered, through our GP and pharmacy networks and Queensland Health hubs,” added Minister D’Ath. “Over the last week alone, Queensland Health has administered 71,471 vaccinations, including a record 11,827 yesterday. We want to continue to grow these numbers to get even more Queenslanders protected in this ongoing global epidemic.”

The Doomben Racecourse can be found at 75 Hampden St, Ascot. Eligible Queensland residents interested in registering for the COVID-19 vaccine can do so via the Queensland Health website here

Hendra Club Veterinarian Tracking New Strain of Deadly ’90s Horse Virus

A founding member of the Hendra Club, a group of Australian veterinarians and medical experts, is tracking and studying a new and potentially lethal strain of a horse virus known to transfer to humans. This virus was first discovered in the country at the Doomben and Eagle Farm racetracks in the 1990s.

Dr Peter Reid of the Australian Veterinary Association encouraged horse owners and breeders to get their animals vaccinated as soon as possible from the Hendra virus amid concerns that the new strain could progress “very quickly,” especially in areas considered as “low risk.”

The doctor experienced first-hand the fatal effects of the Hendra virus in 1994 after he was called on to the Doomben and Eagle Farm stables to check on Drama Series, the racehorse of his friend, stable owner Vic Rail. 

Initially diagnosed as an infection, Drama Series’ condition worsened quickly and affected a dozen more horses at the stables in a matter of days. Mr Rail also became seriously ill, prompting the equine veterinarian to seek the help of pathologists from the University of Queensland.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Following Mr Rail’s death and three more funerals for human victims, the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong, Victoria, was able to pinpoint the deadly culprit as the Hendra virus. Dr Reid then made it his mission to focus on learning about this strain by speaking with the survivors, the other veterinarians and the families who have been raising horses. 

In his studies, Dr Reid learned that all animals could catch the Hendra virus but it’s only horses that could pass on the strain to humans. However, it is not airborne and it’s dangerous only if the person comes in contact with bodily fluids. This explains why the risks are higher to personnel working at the stables. 

Since the 1994 outbreak, the AAHL has also prioritised studies on the Hendra virus. The Hendra Club was born soon after the 9/11 terrorist attack as there were concerns the virus could be used as a bioterrorism agent.

Today, the Hendra Club with Dr Reid has been training and teaching up-and-coming virologists to curb future outbreaks. Samples of the new strain have been discovered in Queensland but with vaccination efforts, the expert said there are strong chances of preventing deaths and sickness.