The people of regional NSW should take it as a great compliment that we are being asked to help ease the strain of Sydney's COVID crisis.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday that up to 40,000 doses of the sought-after Pfizer vaccine would be redirected from the state's rural and regional supply to help Year 12 students in some of Sydney's worst-affected suburbs get back to school for face-to-face learning.
That decision not only illustrates the dire need in Sydney at the moment but also the outstanding job regional NSW has done, for the most part, in keeping COVID-19 at bay.
While there is still no time or place for complacency, the fact there has not been a single new COVID-19 case found across the Central West since a Blayney factory worker was infected more than one week ago gives us great cause to be optimistic.
The people of our region have shown enormous resilience in the face of a daunting opponent but also great common sense in heeding the latest health advice, no matter how difficult it has been at times.
But the reallocation of Pfizer vaccines from country areas to Sydney students is really a question of equity and giving those students the best possible chance to sit the HSC on an even footing with students across the state.
What it does not mean, though, is that people in the Central West should shelve their plans to get vaccinated in the immediate future.
Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan has been stressing the point over the past week or so that the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will still be available in our region, is a safe and effective vaccine and that adults who are not yet vaccinated should be making an appointment to receive it.
You may not get an appointment for tomorrow, or even next week, but the sooner you start the process of booking your spot the sooner you will have the first needle in your arm.
As more doses of the Pfizer vaccine become available there will be the opportunity for more to return to rural and regional areas but, until then, we have to keep following the health advice and getting the vaccine that's available.
Mass vaccination provides the most effective roadmap out of the pandemic and we must all do our part. We keep hearing that we're all in this together; this is our chance to prove it.
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