By Danielle Kutchel
A Berwick hospital has commenced vaccinating people against Covid-19.
On Wednesday 5 May, St John of God Hospital on Kangan Drive, Berwick, began vaccinating patients against the virus.
The opening comes as Australia expands its vaccine rollout this week to all those aged over 50.
The St John of God facility has 10 immunisation cubicles, with ten minutes allocated for each appointment.
It’s expected to process 60 people each hour.
A spokesperson for the hospital said all eligible community members – not just those from Casey – over the age of 50 are able to book in for their AstraZeneca shot at St John of God.
“We have a team of 31 servicing the clinic, including a mix of registered nurses, accredited immunisation nurses and administration,” the spokesperson said.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is the preferred vaccine for those in the over-50 age group, and has been shown to be effective against Covid-19 in clinical trials.
The spokesperson said the most likely side effect people may experience is lethargy and mild flu-like symptoms for the first 24 to 48 hours after vaccination.
“We advise people to take it easy for a couple of days after your vaccination, take Panadol if required and see your GP if your symptoms remain after four days,” the spokesperson said.
“The vast majority of people have no symptoms following vaccination and the serious side effects have been well documented.
“The important message to remember is that the rates of serious side effects remain extremely low.”
The spokesperson encouraged all those eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Getting vaccinated is our best way to protect ourselves, our family and our community from the risk of serious illness as a result of Covid-19 Infection,” she said.
“We acknowledge that Australia has very low community transmission and therefore there is low incentive to participate in a Covid-19 vaccination program but the reality is that until we are vaccinated, Covid-19 will remain a serious threat to Australians and our way of life.”
The St John of God vaccination clinic is open 8.30am-4pm, strictly by appointment only.
To book, call the Department of Health hotline on 1800 675 398.