Dorothy Hayes was one of the first Mitchell Shire residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Kilmore District Health.

By Colin MacGillivray

KILMORE District Health’s aged-care residents were inoculated against COVID-19 after receiving doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday last week.

Residents of both the Dianella Hostel and Caladenia Nursing Home received the vaccines in one day, and Kilmore District Health authorities said the program had gone smoothly.

Dianella nurse unit manager Bernadette Lavars said the hostel’s residents had been ‘a bit anxious’ the night before receiving the vaccine but that everything had gone according to plan on the day.

She praised the organisation of Goulburn Valley [GV] Health, which is in charge of overseeing phase 1a of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the Mitchell Shire region.

“It’s all been very smooth and well organised. GV Health have done a good job,” she said.

“It’s been in the works for a few months now, and so far it has gone very well. [The residents are] all glad to have it, which is the main thing.”

Ms Lavars said a few leftover doses of the vaccine were used to inoculate staff so that none were wasted.

Dianella’s nurse in charge of the vaccination program Caroline Walters said anticipation had been running high among residents as the vaccination date approached.

“Everyone went to bed early [the night before] because they were expecting a carnival atmosphere,” she said.

“Everybody has got a smile on their face, so that’s good.”

Dianella aged-care resident Betty Winnell and nurse in charge Caroline Walters pose for a photo before Ms Winnell received her COVID-19 vaccination.

Dianella resident Betty Winnell joked that she was expecting more pomp and ceremony during the vaccination process.

“I thought there’d have been bells ringing and people singing and balloons and streamers,” she said.

Fellow resident Valda Andrew said she was ‘surprised’ to be one of the first people in Mitchell Shire to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I was the youngest of eight kids, so I’m used to waiting my turn,” she said.

“It wasn’t too bad. I used to have to run down to the paddock and bring up some cows to give them a shot, so once you know what it’s about you don’t have to get worked up about it.”

Ms Lavars said residents would receive a booster for the AstraZeneca vaccine in three months.

“We’re happy they’ve had the chance to be vaccinated – it’s a really good thing,” she said.

“Now we hope everybody else in Australia gets to have this soon too.”

A vaccination clinic is planned to open at the health service as phases 1b, 2a and 2b of the vaccine rollout commence.

Kilmore District Health chief executive David Naughton said he expected to announce more details soon.