COVID-19 priority vaccines protect staff and patients

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Frontline workers at Australia’s leading private healthcare providers have received priority COVID-19 vaccinations.

More than 1,000 staff and doctors at Ramsay Health Care Australia were included in the first rollout of the Federal Government’s program, along with over 800 from Epworth HealthCare.

More than 170 workers at Sydney Adventist Hospital, the largest private facility in New South Wales, were also among the early recipients.

They were part of Phase 1a, which comprises people in emergency departments, intensive care units, and on wards or units caring for COVID-positive patients. 

Many Ramsay employees and doctors have already received their first doses in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, while others in Phase 1a have also pre-registered in the state-run vaccine booking systems. 

Epworth Richmond emergency department nurse Bronwyn Potton was among the Victoria-based group’s staff to be vaccinated at a health vaccination hub managed by St Vincent’s Hospital.

“The COVID-19 vaccines in Australia have passed strict tests by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which means they are safe and effective,” she said.

“These vaccines will help keep healthcare workers, your family and the community safe.”

Ramsay Australia’s Chief Nurse, Dr Bernadette Eather, said achieving high vaccination rates in Australia would make outbreaks less likely and reduce the need for restrictions such as snap lockdowns and border closures. 

“We know a vaccination program is one of the most effective measures to protect the community against the spread of vaccine preventable illness, so we are working very closely with health departments in various states in Australia to ensure our highest-risk staff and doctors are prioritised to receive their vaccines,” Dr Eather said. 

“An effective vaccination program will significantly reduce risk of severity of illness if COVID-19 is contracted, and early studies show it may also have an impact on reducing transmission of COVID-19.” 

Dr Eather said many Ramsay sites in regional areas were partnering with their local public hospitals to allow their hospital staff to get vaccinated.  

“Some of these regional vaccination hubs which commenced this month include the Wollongong Hospital hub and the John Hunter hub in Newcastle,” she said.  

Healthcare workers are also being vaccinated at Ramsay-operated Peninsula Private Hospital in Victoria and Joondalup Health Campus in Western Australia.  

The remaining Ramsay staff and doctors will be included in Phase 1b of the rollout, which has now started following approval of the Australian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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