Making history as COVID-19 vaccine rolls out

History was made in Mount Alexander Shire this month as 90-year old retired nurse Betty Kellett received the very first COVID-19 vaccination on 4 March. Betty lives in Penhall at Castlemaine Health and was among a group of residents and staff to receive their first vaccinations.

Betty said: “It means a great deal to me, more security and hopefully if we all get vaccinated we won’t get the disease, nor will we pass it on. I’m an ex-nurse and I’ve been on the other side. The more people that have it the better.”

Sue Race, CEO of Castlemaine Health and Maldon Hospital, said: “It’s fantastic that we can now begin work to keep residents and staff in the Mount Alexander Shire safe.”

Residential aged care workers and residents are among the first people in Australia who can choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is part of the first phase (Phase 1A) of Australia’s national roll-out strategy. In the Loddon Mallee region, public care facilities in Bendigo, Castlemaine and Inglewood have been the first to receive the vaccine. Maldon Hospital’s rollout dates will be determined based on supplies from Bendigo Health.

Sue said: “Bendigo Health is the coordinating hub managing distribution in the Loddon Mallee region. Allocation of the vaccine in the public health system in Victoria is determined by the State Government. The vaccination process for our region will depend on supply, with rollout to increase as more vaccine becomes available.”

Staff from Maldon Hospital and Castlemaine Health have been trained up to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. They will be working alongside the Bendigo Health Vaccination team as they continue the vaccination program in the coming weeks and months.

A Victorian Government COVID-19 vaccine hotline option has been established through the Victorian Government’s dedicated coronavirus hotline. People with general enquiries about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout should ring 1800 675 398 (option 3).

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