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COVID-19 vaccination program to begin

District's frontline workers among first to be offered vaccination.

Four people standing outside; socially distanced
SydneyConnect Image: Announcing the COVID-19 vaccination program

Two of Sydney Local Health District's frontline workers joined Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and NSW Health Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant to announce details of the first stage of the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Infection Control Nurse Manager, Brad McEntee and Environmental Services Supervisor Gaya Vellangalloor Srinivasan work in the Special Health Accommodation and will be among the phase 1a group offered the vaccine from next week.

More than 35,000 critical staff in NSW will be among the first in Australia to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when the rollout begins on Monday, 22 February 2021.

"Next Monday will be a monumental day for NSW and for all of us," said Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

Along with hotel quarantine workers, health care workers who have the greatest exposure to potential COVID-19 patients from emergency departments, COVID-19 clinics and patient transport will be in the first round of jabs.

Having played a role in the District's COVID-19 response from January last year, Brad was a member of the team who set up the Special Health Accommodation and continues to oversee the infection control team, training and auditing staff and managing high risk transfers between quarantine facilities.

"As a frontline healthcare worker, we've been shielding the community for the past 12 months almost, and the vaccination just gives us that extra level of assurance.

"I'm extremely excited to get the vaccine and it's a step forward to connect again with our family and loved ones," he said.

A cleaning auditor at Concord Hospital, Gaya now supervises the cleaning team at the health accommodation, training staff and conducting audits to ensure the rooms are completely disinfected and safe.

Gaya said the policies and procedures in place in the quarantine hotels give assurance that she and her team are safe, and the vaccine will be extra protection.

"I'm really excited actually. I feel privileged and honoured as well to be among the first people to get the vaccination in Australia."