Bass Coast’s first COVID-19 vaccine community clinic will open at the Wonthaggi Town Hall to vaccinate people aged over 50 and healthcare and high risk workers in the Phase 1a and 1b priority groups.

Established by the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit (GRPHU) based at Latrobe Regional Hospital, the clinic will have the capacity to vaccinate up to 400 people depending on vaccine supplies.

LRH Executive Director Information and Regional Services, Jon Millar said the Wonthaggi clinic would gradually scale-up operations when it opens in the week commencing May 24.

“As we have done at the Traralgon centre, we’ll build up numbers slowly at first so that everyone gets used to the process but we will have capacity for 150 vaccinations-a-day initially at Wonthaggi,” Mr Millar said.

“We would estimate that we could scale up to 400-a-day if we can get the vaccine and the workforce.”

Mr Millar said there was also potential to increase the number of days to five-days-a-week depending on demand.

Both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines will be offered at Wonthaggi, with the Pfizer vaccine stored in a below-70 facility at Latrobe Regional Hospital and thawed-out on the run over to Wonthaggi.

“We’ll have a certain day for Pfizer vaccination,” he said.

And in the event that booked appointments failed to eventuate, arrangements were in place to vaccinate local health workers in order that multiple-dose vials weren’t wasted.

“We’ve already been doing that successfully at Traralgon,” Mr Millar said.

The Wonthaggi high volume vaccination centre will benefit from the operation of the Traralgon Racecourse Centre, the first community vaccination centre in Gippsland, where 3000 jabs have already been administered.

“While we’ve learnt a lot from running our community clinic in Traralgon, we appreciate this is a new venue for our team so we plan to take our time in building our capacity and schedule of appointments day-by-day. As a result, the clinic will open three days a week,” Jon said.

“Our GRPHU vaccination team is fortunate to have the support of Bass Coast Health staff to run the new clinic. We expect up to 10 qualified staff will be at the Town Hall each day.”

The clinic will administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults over 50 years of age. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be offered to eligible healthcare, emergency and high-risk workers.

Bookings will open on Monday, May 17 by calling 1800 675 398.

The Wonthaggi centre will be one of six community clinics in Gippsland. A clinic is already operating successfully at the Traralgon Racecourse while another in Sale will also open in a fortnight.

The Traralgon clinic opened on April 14.

In summary

* The community clinic is at the Wonthaggi Town Hall.

* The clinic will open in the week commencing May 24, 2021

* The clinic will be open Monday, Tuesday and Friday each week 9.30am-3pm (subject to change).

* Bookings open Monday, May 17 by calling 1800 675 398.

* ‘Walk-in’ appointments will not be possible in the first week of operation.