First vaccinations offered to frontline healthcare workers and quarantine staff
The first frontline healthcare workers and quarantine staff have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at RPA's Vaccination Centre which officially opened its doors today, marking a significant milestone in Sydney Local Health District's response to the pandemic.
Environmental Services Supervisor Gaya Vellangalloor Srinivasan, who oversees the cleaning team at the District's Special Health Accommodation, was the first staff member to be vaccinated.
"It gives extra assurance that I'm going to be protected. I was excited to be among the first to get the jab," Gaya said.
Brad McEntee, an Infection Control Nurse Manager who is responsible for the infection control team at the Special Health Accommodation, also received one of the first doses of the vaccine.
"From my experience this morning, it's a really smooth process. It's very comfortable and I feel really good after it so I'd strongly encourage everyone to do it," he said.
The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Health Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Health Acting Secretary Susan Pearce, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and the District's Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson were at the Centre to witness the first vaccinations take place.
"The people receiving the vaccine today have literally put their own health on the line every day. I was just so overjoyed and overwhelmed that those who have protected all of us… were the first ones to get the jab and by that, showing us the way forward," Ms Berejiklian said.
"I am looking forward to having the overwhelming majority of our citizens getting the vaccine in the next few months," she said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard hailed the vaccination rollout.
"What we're seeing today is buzz and excitement from the people who have been there in those darkest days on the front line working hard, suddenly now seeing the light," Mr Hazzard said.
"As I looked at that first jab going in, it struck me that it's a very small and a very quick jab, but it's [a way] for all of us back to normalcy," he said.
About 1200 healthcare workers and quarantine staff in NSW will be vaccinated today.
"Today is an exciting milestone in our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Today, we officially opened our COVID-19 Vaccination Centre and started vaccinating our staff," Dr Anderson said.
"It provides further reassurance, that as well as the systems the District already has in place to protect staff, that they will all soon have additional protection from the vaccine," she said.
The District's staff working in the highest risk areas, including Special Health Accommodation, Sydney Airport and COVID-19 testing clinics, will receive the vaccine during the first phase of the rollout.
Across the state, 35,000 frontline healthcare and quarantine staff will be vaccinated over the next three weeks.
More than 50 staff will be involved in RPA's Vaccination Centre's operation each day.
"I'd like to thank everyone involved in the planning, set up and operation of the Vaccination Centre and to all those involved in continuing the other important work of the District.
"I would especially like to thank the District's Executive Director of Operations, Dr Tim Sinclair, for his leadership of the vaccination program, COVID-19 Operations Centre Manager Sven Nilsson and RPA COVID-19 Vaccination Centre Nurse Manager Paula Williams for the amazing work they have done with our teams.
"I'm so proud of you all, and to be a member of this incredible team.
"While the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory, I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated when eligible, in order to help protect yourself, your loved ones and the community from the impact of COVID-19," Dr Anderson said.
Three Vaccination Centres have been established in NSW, at RPA, Westmead and Liverpool Hospitals.
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