The Mildura Base Public Hospital’s (MBPH) front line workforce is being vaccinated with the Astrazeneca, COVID-19 vaccine in a roll-out that began at the hospital on Tuesday.

First cab off the rank was COVID-19 Respiratory Ward Clerk, Kerry Kendrigan who said she was pleased to be having the much anticipated vaccine.

“I am glad to be getting my vaccine shot − it’s very important that front line staff at the hospital receive it and they will all be done in the coming weeks,” Kerry said.

Once people have received their first dose they will require another injection of the vaccine in four to 12 weeks.

COVID-19 project management lead, Leanne Dellar said that while the vaccine had been along time coming the hospital is very happy that it was being rolled out now to their staff this week.

“We will now vaccinate all of our more than 350 staff which is a big task but vitally important,” she said.

MBPH CEO, Terry Welch said that he too was delighted that the vaccinations were under way.

“It’s great to have the program under way, it has been a long journey, and we have been very patiently working with the relevant authorities, and the fact that we now have assurances of supply and we have plenty of doses, is reassuring,” Mr Welch said.

“The team did a great job at Jacaranda Village on Monday, where their staff and residents were vaccinated and today we are starting to do our staff.
“We are starting with our 1A staff who will be vaccinated first and we certainly have sufficient vaccine to undertake that in the next two weeks.
“All of the 1A and 1B staff at the base will receive the Astrazeneca vaccine and we are quite confident about the vaccine, all of the feedback has been very positive overall.
“This is another step forward to keep our staff and patients safe and it’s part of the program of moving on from what has been a really challenging 12 months.”

Mr Welch said that we were fortunate to be in a country where, in just 12 months from the beginning of the pandemic, we are receiving the vaccine.

“We should reflect on the speed and efficiency in which this has been achieved, albeit it hasn’t been without its challenges,” he said.

“I think the key message from us, is that everyone should have this vaccine. We want everyone to be vaccinated and feeling safe in the workplace and in the community. We would encourage everyone to get vaccinated at the first opportunity.”

Mr Welch also emphasised the importance for people to continue to observe and practice good personal hygiene.

“We are also moving into the colder months and we hope that the community continues to display their really tremendous etiquette around coughing and sneezing into their elbow, covering their mouth and importantly, washing their hands regularly,” he said.

“We know the cold weather will come and with it the flu, and so the more we employ that high level of etiquette in regard to infection prevention by observing those hygiene measures, the better it will be for all of us.”