COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Begins: Protecting the people that protect us

COVID-19 has been part of our lives for almost a year, and a significant milestone was reached this week with the commencement of the vaccine roll out.

In the first three weeks of the roll out, more than 600 SCHN frontline workers will be vaccinated against the virus, with 250 staff to be vaccinated at the Westmead Vaccination Hub this week.

SCHN staff are among the hundreds of healthcare workers first to receive the jab due to the risk of exposure to potential COVID-19 patients. These workers include COVID-19 clinic workers, emergency department workers, COVID ward workers and critical care workers including support staff and COVID pathology lab staff.

Workers within quarantine hotels, those screening arrivals at the airport, cleaners, NSW Police officers and security guards will also be included in the initial roll  out.

Oliver Tegg, Advanced Practice Nurse in CHW’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and Kylie Stark, Nurse Manager from SCH’s Emergency Department were among the first to receive the jab.

“I got vaccinated to help protect myself, family and our community,” Oliver said. 

“Being one of the first to be vaccinated feels fantastic. I have total trust in the development, testing and deployment of the vaccine, and I didn’t even get a sore arm like I normally do from the flu shot.”

Kylie Stark, who attended the Westmead Vaccination Hub by specially arranged bus from SCH, said the vaccine was an exciting step in returning to life pre-COVID.

“It’s about a sense of normalcy. It’s one of the first concrete steps that we have been able to take to get life back to how it was,” Kylie said.

“It means more safety at work, and more safety in life, and it’s a relief to know that everyone from the patients I treat and my colleagues, to my own mother will be more protected once the roll out progresses. For me, another highlight is more hugs for those we love.”

Over the next three weeks, 35,100 frontline workers from across NSW will receive their first vaccination, which will be administered in three initial vaccination hubs at Westmead, Liverpool and Royal Prince Alfred Hospitals.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard welcomes the commencement of the vaccine roll out, and is pleased by the community's support of health workers.

“There is no silver bullet that will return us to pre-pandemic normality, which is why vaccination and continued COVID-safe behaviour is so important,”

“The NSW community has been outstanding helping our health workers to contain the virus, and I am sure we will see similar community support for the vaccine roll out,” Mr Hazzard said.

To find more information on the availability of the vaccines, visit the Department of Health website.