The ADF has begun deploying teams to aged and disability care facilities around Australia in support of the Government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout strategy.
Following a request from the Australian Government Department of Health, the ADF is providing up to 12 teams of five personnel each, including clinicians and support staff, to help administer the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
The first three teams deployed on March 12 to facilities on the NSW South Coast, Brisbane and in North Queensland as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.
Medical officer Lieutenant Natalie D’Enyar, from the Joint Health Unit – Central NSW Kuttabul Health Centre, led the vaccination delivery team of Joint Health Command personnel from Albatross Health Centre and Creswell Health Clinic that delivered and administered the Pfizer vaccine to residents of Jonathan Rogers GC House in Nowra.
“We are starting here at an aged-care facility because some of the people here are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and we are getting in there to give them a helping hand first” Lieutenant D’Enyar said.
“The ADF is very proud to help out the Department of Health to get these vaccinations out there where they are needed most.”
Facility manager Hayley McDonald welcomed the support being provided to the residents.
“They are all very excited to have the Australian Defence Force here today doing the vaccinations," she said.
Nearly 2500 kilometres away, a team of ADF and contracted personnel from the Joint Health Unit – North Queensland travelled 90 minutes from Townsville to the Blue Care Ingham Bluehaven facility in Ingham to vaccinate residents.
ADF medic Private Christie Rayner was part of the team vaccinating residents.
“We’ve got the residents filing through, checking their medical information making sure it’s safe for the vaccination to be given. We give the vaccination itself and share some stories, putting the resident at ease as we go,” Private Rayner said.
Resident Lorna Pollack was enthusiastic about receiving the vaccine.
“Well, I don’t want to ever get the virus –– definitely not – and if I am going to get the jab to stop me getting it, yes please," she said.
The work of the teams is in addition to the 20 Defence personnel providing planning and logistics support to the Department of Health’s Vaccine Operations Centre in Canberra, which is overseeing the national vaccine rollout.