Vaccine hub opens

Registered nurse Rupinder Kaur holding the COVID-19 vaccine. (Damjan Janevski). 230083_01

Tara Murray

The bottom level of Sunshine Hospital’s multi-level carpark was a hive of activity last Thursday as the first COVID-19 vaccination was administered at the Sunshine Vaccine Hub.

The first vaccine was administered at 10am, with 153 people booked in to be vaccinated on the first day.

Quarantine workers were first in line at the hub. Border, frontline health care and aged care workers and aged care residents are also eligible to receive the vaccine in the initial roll out.

Western Health staff, from across all their facilities, were expected to start getting injections from Saturday.

Unit manager Donald Johnson said it was a relief to get the program under way after such a big build up.

“It has been great,” he said.

“The team we have brought in … we’ve brought them in for something historic.”

Mr Johnson said they were expecting to run the hub seven days a week to start with, as they looked to get as many people as possible vaccinated.

“We expect to have it running for six months, to get through [phase]1a and 1b. It’s also quite suitable for the public in the future.”

Each person will get two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart.

Mr Johnson said the hub, which consists of three pods with 20 cubicles each, had taken just over a month to set up.

Western Health is also running the Melbourne Airport vaccination hub, which started vaccinating airport staff two weeks ago.

They will also be running vaccine sub-hubs in places like Werribee Mercy. That is expected to start this week.

Mr Johnson said that for the all the staff involved, being part of the team to help vaccinate the country is pretty special.

“For all working here, there’s a sense of purpose,” he said. “It’s all part of a historic moment in time in history.

“A lot of the staff have stories and really strong reasons to be here.”