COVID-19 Vax Clinic Nurse Unit Manager answers your questions

With the news this week that 16-39-year-olds are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, Castlemaine Health’s busy clinic staff are working hard to respond to all the enquiries.

Shelley Leathem, Castlemaine Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Nurse Unit Manager, has urged the public to use the Loddon Mallee Registration Hub to secure an appointment.

Shelley said: “We’re receiving a high number of calls with people requesting an appointment, but the only way to register is via the link. Once you’ve registered using that link, we’ll contact you when an appointment becomes available.”

We asked Shelley to answer some of the most frequently asked questions the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic team are hearing.

How can I get vaccinated at Castlemaine Health?

Register your interest on our website via the Loddon Mallee Registration Hub. When we are able to offer you a booking, we’ll send you a link to enable you to book your appointment online. Please don’t share the link with others, the link is only for you. Should anyone else use the link to book an appointment they will be turned away on arrival. Please encourage your friends and family to register via our website so they can be vaccinated too.

I’m aged between 16-39 when can I book an appointment?

Now! We have had people register their interest previously, before Tuesday’s announcement and they were sent the booking link on Tuesday night and already have appointments. Register online and as appointments are available you will be sent the booking link.

I’ve made an appointment but now I can’t make it. What should I do?

Please call us on 5471 3555 (option 5) and leave a message to let us know you can’t make it. We can offer your appointment to someone else. Vaccine is drawn up in advance of appointments so to avoid wastage please let us know as soon as you can that you can’t make it.

I registered online via your website and/or called but haven’t heard back. What do I do?

We’ll send you a confirmation email to say that we received your expression of interest within 48hrs. Please note that if you expressed an interest on Friday afternoon, you may not receive this until Monday. We receive many calls a day with messages from people who forget to leave a number. Please remember to leave your name, enquiry and number if you’d like a call back. We also receive hundreds of registrations of interest with an incorrect email address, so our replies can’t be delivered. Please check the email address you are entering on the expression of interest carefully. Some of our emails do end up in junk/spam folders, so remember to check them too.

 Why can’t I find Castlemaine Health on the website or when I call the 1800 number?

 We are on the vaccination centre map but we aren’t listed as a provider in the centralised state booking system. This is because we use a Castlemaine Health-specific booking system, which is the Loddon Mallee Registration Hub. Our vaccine supply is allocated only for those that reside within the Loddon Mallee region so it’s important that only local people book with us. We can’t vaccinate people from Melbourne or other areas. Our clinic’s job is to vaccinate those in our community.

What if I need to change my appointment?

Once you receive your first vaccination, you will be booked your second dose appointment while you’re in the clinic. If you need to change this appointment, call us! The number is 5471 3555 (option 5)

I’ve been waiting a while to receive my appointment, why is it taking so long?

All Victorian state vaccination centres have been allocated a maximum amount of first dose Pfizer that can be administered. We are vaccinating to this maximum and will gradually open more bookings as our allocated supply increases. Before the 16-39 age group opened up, we also had to adhere to the eligibility criteria, so if you didn’t fall into one of the priority groups, you may have had to wait longer for your appointment. Our clinic currently runs three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), with the possibility of also opening up on a 4th day. We can’t vaccinate as many people as the bigger clinics, which have a greater capacity to vaccinate and run 7 days a week.

Do you offer walk-in appointments?

Demand for vaccination appointments is currently so high that its extremely unlikely that walk-in appointments can secure a vaccination on the day. Sometimes we have cancellations or excess doses from a vial which enables us to vaccinate more people. At times we may be able to offer walk ins for Astra Zeneca, but this is dependent on supply on the day. The best way to secure a vaccination is to book via the Loddon Mallee Registration Hub link on our website.

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