February 22, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination Program

As the first COVID-19 vaccinations begin to be administered across the state, Northern Health is preparing to launch our own vaccination centre for those living in Melbourne’s north.

In partnership with the North Eastern Hub led by Austin Health, Northern Health’s initial focus will be providing vaccinations to residential aged care facilities in our catchment area, along with our frontline staff, commencing early March. Staff vaccinations will take place in the Transit Lounge of the new building.

Debra Bourne, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, explained our staff will be notified via email and SMS to make an appointment and book their vaccine, with a link provided.

“Northern Heath is really excited to be opening this vaccination unit in the new building and the role it will play in keeping our staff and community safe. We are proud to have a role to play in this vaccination program over the next few months,” she said.

Northern Health is providing additional specialised training to staff working in the hub, led by Lumnise Gashi, Vaccination Unit Nurse Unit Manager.

“Our nurses are receiving additional training and will be required to complete this before they commence. To be able to work in the hub, the nurses will complete a Commonwealth and state course to ensure they have the right skills and training to provide safe immunisations. The course is now available through the LMS,” she said.

Lora Davies, Director of Nursing, added that the team has been overwhelmed by people wanting to support this program.

“That is a real indication of our staff, and how dedicated they have been. I am proud of the level of commitment everyone has shown,” she said.

Jier Nguyen, Associate Director, Pharmacy Operations, explained that from the logistics point of view, Pharmacy is ready to receive and store the vaccines.

“Pharmacy is proud to be a part of the vaccination unit, playing a crucial role in logistics and making sure the vaccine is stored appropriately. We had to purchase extra equipment to ensure the maximum amount of doses out of the vial and the team has bought a special fridge for the vaccines to ensure storage at appropriate temperature,” he explained.

A/Prof Craig Aboltins, Director of Infectious Diseases, added that Northern Health’s COVID-19 response was an integral part of the state response, and vaccination is an extension of that.

“Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you from getting sick from COVID-19, and the vaccines being used in Australia are very effective at preventing serious illness and loss of life. Before vaccines are made available in Australia, they need to pass strict Australian safety standards.”

Featured image (left to right): Luma Gashi, A/Prof Craig Aboltins, Lora Davies, Jier Nguyen