Vaccination program underway at EGHS

East Grampians Health Service is excited to announce that its COVID-19 vaccination program is underway.

EGHS nurse immunisers commenced vaccinating residents in EGHS aged care facilities with the AstraZeneca vaccine, including 70 Lowe Street, Garden View Court, Parkland House and Willaura Nursing Home on March 19.

The first resident to receive the vaccine was 91-year-old Ian Walmsley, a resident at Garden View Court for almost three years.

Mr Walmsley had no qualms about getting the vaccine, as being in the airforce in England until his early 30s, he was ‘used to having to have a needle’.

“I’ve had hundreds of them before, we used to have to line up in a long line – there was no option, that was it,” Mr Walmsley said.

Mr Walmsley and his late wife Karen moved to Australia and Ararat in the early 2000s, after Karen got a job as an occupational therapist at EGHS so that Ian could be close to his family.

Having the vaccine will enable Mr Walmsley’s family to visit more regularly.

Mr Walmsley said it was important that everyone got the vaccine.

“I can’t see that we’re going to get on top of it (without the vaccine) – it’s not going to go away,” he said.

“So many other countries are going through it, it is so horrible, and it could easily return here.

“The vaccine is absolutely essential.”

EGHS chief executive Andrew Freeman said it was an exciting day for the health service and it was pleasing to see residents enthusiastic about having the vaccine, after what has been a very difficult 12 months.

“Our residents were well looked after by our aged care staff during lockdown periods and were able to keep in touch with their family members via video calls, but it’s not the same as in person and they were unable to see their loved ones for many months,” Mr Freeman said.

“The vaccine will protect our residents, who are the most at-risk members of our community, and will ensure they are kept safe while enjoying time with family and friends and getting out into the community again for activities.”

Mr Freeman said residents are part of Phase 1A of the vaccination program, where the most vulnerable members of our community receive the vaccine first.

East Grampians Health Service is a COVID-19 vaccination sub-hub for the Grampians region.

EGHS is working collaboratively with Stawell Regional Health, East Wimmera Health Service and Maryborough District Health Service to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccine roll out across the region to residents in public residential aged care facilities and health service staff.

Pictured are nurse immuniser Annette Manning and Ian Walmsley, the first person in Ararat to receive the COVID-19 vaccine