March Start for COVID-19 Vaccination Program

On Wednesday February 24, GV Health confirmed priority and high-risk groups in Shepparton will receive the COVID-19 vaccine from March 8, while Numurkah, Nathalia, Cobram and Yarrawonga priority groups are scheduled to start from March 22.

GV Health has been nominated as a ‘vaccine hub’ by The Department of Health and Human Services and as such are the lead for our region in terms of rolling out the vaccine and communication around the program.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available for Priority 1a front-line healthcare workers from the week of March 8 at the GV Health vaccine hub. Victorian public sector aged care residents will commence receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from March 15 in their homes at facilities across the region.

The first front-line staff to receive the vaccine from March 8 are those working at the Graham Street campus of GV Health in Shepparton. This includes; 150 staff working in the emergency department, COVID-19 testing and respiratory ward and in the critical care unit. This will be followed by the public aged care residents located at GV Health Aged Care facilities at the Shepparton, Tatura and Rushworth campuses from March 15.

The GV Health vaccine hub will commence COVID-19 vaccinations for priority 1a health care workers in health services, public sector residential aged care facilities and GP Respiratory Clinics beyond Shepparton, including in Numurkah, Nathalia, Cobram and Yarrawonga, from March 22.

Exact timing for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine across the GV Health vaccine hub catchment area from March 22 onwards is dependent on vaccine availability and allocation to the local region by the Commonwealth Government.

Most priority groups will be vaccinated using the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at -70°C, meaning it requires special storage and distribution arrangements.

A secondary round of vaccinations will be made available to the broader adult population in approximately April, using the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The secondary vaccine has recently been approved in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) it can be refrigerated at conventional cold chain management temperatures. Therefore, it can be stored and transported more easily and allows for greater access to all Australians.

Vaccinations are not compulsory, but strongly encouraged and free of charge.

Australia has a stringent regulatory assessment process for new medicines and vaccines and the TGA considers information about possible side effects. For a vaccine to be registered for use in Australia, the benefits must outweigh the risks.

NCN Health will work with priority groups to access the first stage of the vaccination program and then with the broader community to access the second stage.

Availability of the Pfizer Vaccine is subject to demand and some priority groups may also receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination program https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine

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