RPA COVID vaccination centre marks milestone
Team delivers more than 320,000 vaccines in first year.
For Gaya Vellangalloor Srinivasan it’s a moment etched in her memory.
“I remember every detail about that day. It’s such a precious moment to me. It’s a day I’ll never forget,” she said.
The Environmental Services Manager was the first of Sydney Local Health District’s frontline workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine at RPA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Centre.
“To get the message out to the community [and] to show them a pathway about how we can come out of this pandemic to a new normal life was such a significant moment,” she said.
The then NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Health Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Health Acting Secretary Susan Pearce, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and the District's Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson were on hand to witness the first vaccinations take place.
The Centre was one of three established in NSW in February 2021, as the COVID-19 vaccination program began to roll-out across Australia.
It was initially set up to help vaccinate 35,000 healthcare workers and quarantine staff in the state, and soon began to provide vaccines for eligible members of the community.
Now, more than 320,000 vaccines have been administered at the Centre as it marks 12 months since its doors opened. The Centre’s team delivered more than 4300 vaccines on its busiest day on 27 August 2021.
Over the past year, more than 2000 staff – including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, ICT, administrative staff, security officers and cleaners – have been redeployed to work at the Centre.
“I remember thinking at the very beginning, there was a glimmer of hope that we finally had a way out of the pandemic,” Paula Williams, an Operational Nurse Manager who helped establish the Centre, said.
“The first day is like a surreal blur. Looking back on it now, I think we all feel overwhelming pride that we were the first ones to be able to provide that service,” she said.
Long time endocrinologist Professor Ian Caterson, who came on board as the Centre’s medical lead said teamwork was key.
“I have never worked with such a good team. We’ve achieved so much in such little time. We wanted to be the best at what we did. We wanted to provide the best care. We’ve had an aim and we worked together to do it and we did it well, Professor Caterson said.
“Having been part of the District for 40 years now, [I was] just being reminded again and again of the people we have here in the District. How good they are at what they do, how responsive they are and how well they work together, he said.
Alongside RPA, the District provides COVID-19 vaccinations at the NSW Health Vaccination Centre – Sydney Olympic Park, at Canterbury Hospital, at the Koori Vaccination Centre at Redfern and various children's vaccination centres.
Check appointment times and book at: https://vaccination.slhd.nsw.gov.au/