Tuesday this week marked the 12-month anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccination delivered by the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD).
In just one year WNSWLHD vaccination teams delivered almost 124,000 doses in more than 75 local communities.
When that first vaccination was given to Dr Dan Stewart from the Dubbo Health Service Emergency Department last year, the WNSWLHD role was intended to be limited to vaccinating health staff. As the pandemic evolved, that role dramatically expanded with the vaccination team going on to play a huge role in protecting Western NSW communities.
Chief Executive of WNSWLHD Mark Spittal is extremely proud of how the team was able to scale up their vaccine service provision in response to the needs of the communities.
“At the start of COVID-19 vaccination, we were expecting to deliver around 15,000 vaccines to healthcare workers, but within just two months, our vaccination team had rapidly geared up and were vaccinating people in the community,” he said.
“It’s been a truly enormous undertaking. The team has been innovative and flexible, operating major hub clinics in Orange, Bathurst and Dubbo as well as pop-up clinics in other communities, setting up the state’s first drive-through clinic and even providing mobile vans and in-home vaccination when needed.
“Between our vaccine clinics and those delivered by other providers such as local GPs, Respiratory Clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services and pharmacies, we have managed to ensure Western NSW reached high vaccination rates sooner than many other parts of NSW. That’s a huge achievement, especially considering the challenges of distance for many of our remote communities.”