By Melissa Sheil
THE world’s most highly anticipated vaccine has finally come to the Hills, the first batch having rolled out in Kalamunda over the last two weeks.
Stirk Medical Group on Canning Road were the first in the City to receive the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines, with 100 doses being delivered each week to serve Phase 1b of the government inoculation program.
Health workers, residents over the age of 70 and those with severe health conditions or a disability are just a few of the groups eligible for this phase of the rollout, able to receive the vaccination through the registered clinics provided they have a special form to prove they qualify.
Though the vaccine is not mandatory, Dr Richard Albuquerque, who delivered the first jabs at Stirk Medical, said he had never seen such an influx of patients excited to receive it.
“This is unlike any other vaccine we’ve administered or seen before,” he said.
“There was so much hype surrounding it and now it’s available, we are booking people as fast as stock comes.
“Patients are very excited to get it – some are taking selfies as we perform the jab.
“We are welcoming all people that are eligible but reminding them not to panic, just get your form in and we will get to you when we can.
“We’re not in any rush in WA but it’s good to get all your paperwork sorted.”
Aside from the fanfare, the COVID-19 vaccine differs in its preparation process, needing all who administer it to complete a training session on cold chain management, administration, equipment and allergy testing.
“They’ve even got GPS tracking on the truck that delivers it and a training course for us, which we’ve never had to do before,” Dr Albuquerque said.
To become immune, patients are required to get two doses of the vaccine 12 weeks apart.
Sylvia Lemin-Maslin and her husband Richard Maslin were the first people to receive their initial dose of the vaccine in the City of Kalamunda.
“We were there Wednesday morning 8am with bells on,” she said.
“I rushed in before my husband because I was determined to be the first one.
“I was very proud to be the first one to get it, let’s get on with it I say.
“I’ve been a nurse and a teacher so I’ve dealt with vaccinations all my life so I know how important they are.”
Glen Forest Medical Centre was also approved to be a vaccine distributor last week and several other medical centres will likely follow.