By Matt Male

TWENTY-FIVE Kirrak House residents and staff received the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 yesterday (Thursday, March 11).

It was part of the ‘Phase 1A’ rollout to community members deemed most at risk to COVID-19.

“This is terrific news for residents and staff, and offers some relief after 12 months of managing the COVID-19 risk on a daily basis,” Bass Coast Health acting CEO Louise Sparkes said this week.

Delivered by the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit, Kirrak House residents were vaccinated in the morning and Griffiths Point Lodge in the afternoon.

It was the first of two doses required – the second to be delivered in coming weeks.

“We were advised of the possibility of vaccines being available two weeks ago and began an engagement process with residents in line with guidelines from the Office of the Public Advocate for people with disability. Our chief medical officer Dr Renee Kelsall and geriatrician Dr Jun Yew (Alvin) Tay were both available for all residents and provided a briefing for family members.”

Bass Coast Health nursing staff were hand to assist residents on Thursday and to monitor their response to the vaccine.

There is significant demand for COVID-19 vaccines to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and this means initial doses available must be allocated to priority groups at greatest risk of COVID-19 infection and serious illness.

The COVID-19 Vaccines National Rollout Strategy details the phases in which vaccines will be available. Bass Coast Health’s frontline staff working in residential care, emergency, urgent care, testing and suspected COVID wards are next in line to be offered the vaccine.

Bass Coast Health is working with the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit to determine when and how the roll out of vaccines will happen beyond Phase 1A.