Coffs frontline health workers first to get COVID-19 vaccine

Coffs Harbour Base Hospital has been named as a ‘vaccination hub’ for the first rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to frontline health workers. Photo: Mid North Coast Local Health District.


COFFS Harbour Base Hospital has been named one of eleven NSW hospitals to administer the first COVID-19 vaccines.

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The hospital was chosen along with Royal Prince Alfred, Westmead, Liverpool, Hornsby, St George, Nepean, Newcastle, Wollongong, Dubbo and Wagga Wagga hospitals as the first ‘vaccination hubs’ to offer priority groups the Pfizer vaccine at the end of this month.

These initial ‘vaccination hubs’ possess the required storage, vaccine handling and administration capacity to roll out the Pfizer vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine has very specific transport, storage (-70c) and handling requirements.

A spokesperson from NSW Health informed News Of The Area that they had been advised that priority for the vaccine will be applied to frontline healthcare staff.

“The focus will be those staff most likely to come into contact with COVID-positive patients,” the spokesperson said.

Vaccinations will be offered in phases, and the first frontline health facility workers to be offered prioritisation for the vaccine in the first phase of the vaccination program (Phase 1a) include ambulance and patient transport staff, emergency department staff, critical care ward staff (ICUs and medical retrieval teams), COVID clinic and COVID testing staff, COVID ward staff, COVID immunisation clinic staff, and COVID pathology lab staff.

In addition, staff supporting the above areas will be considered for prioritisation in Phase 1a of the vaccination rollout.

This will include cleaners (including contract cleaners), wards persons, infection control staff, radiology staff, physiotherapists, pharmacy staff, security, social workers, mental health/drug and alcohol consultation liaison staff, and medical/surgical team doctors and nurses who may be expected to attend ED, ICU or COVID wards/clinics.

Other healthcare workers will be prioritised to receive a vaccine from Phase 1b.

In the first few months of the vaccination program it is anticipated that there will be limited doses of the vaccine available in Australia.

Once more vaccine doses become available from Phase 1b, it is expected that one or more COVID-19 vaccines will be available for the wider population through the usual immunisation providers, including GP practices, GP respiratory clinics and Aboriginal health services.

A COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be more generally available to the public from mid 2021.

The Commonwealth Government will lead implementation of the vaccine for the residential aged care and disability care sectors.

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people sixteen years and older, and it involves two doses.

Australia has also entered into a purchase agreement for the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine, as well as the Novavax vaccine.

The Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine is expected to arrive in March.

NSW Health is waiting for the TGA to provide approval for use of the other COVID-19 vaccines in Australia, along with information on which population groups the vaccine may be safely given to.

NSW Health plans to monitor the safety and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination program using existing surveillance systems.



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