Wimmera Health Care Group infection control coordinator Rachel Baker was the first team member to receive her COVID vaccination as the rollout program launched in Horsham this week.

Ballarat Health Services immunisation nurses delivered the vaccines to the Horsham hospital and supported the WHCG team with administering and preparation.

Ms Baker said the operation ran smoothly and thanked the BHS team for working with WHCG to ensure the effective delivery of the importance service.

“It was great to have an experienced team to share their knowledge and help us to kick things off effectively,” Ms Baker said.

“We have been planning for this day for quite a while and the BHS team have been very helpful throughout that planning phase,” she said.

“It was great to see that everything went so smoothly.”

Retired farmer Audrey Merrett, 93, was the first aged care resident to receive the COVID vaccination. 

Audrey said it was very important to get vaccinated and she was privileged to be first in line for her community.

“I’ve always made sure I’m vaccinated for all the diseases and flus getting around throughout my lifetime,” Audrey said.

“I’ve always believed it’s the right thing to do to make sure we are all safe.”

Audrey farmed with her husband and family first at Lillimur in the state’s far west, then Bordertown, SA and later at Harrow before retiring in Horsham in 1980.

“Throughout the years I’ve seen lots of vaccinations that are very important but this one is extremely important,” she said.

Ms Baker administered Audrey’s COVID-19 dose, while a team of WHCG immunisers vaccinated aged care residents in Kurrajong Lodge and Wimmera Nursing Home.

“When I volunteered to be the first team member to get the jab, it was really to show that as infection control coordinator, I have every confidence that this vaccination program will be very successful,” Ms Baker said.

“I’ve been excited all day for it to happen. The experience was completely painless, just like a flu shot, and I feel fine now.”

As a sub hub for the vaccination rollout, WHCG’s COVID immunisation team will now help with distribution to Edenhope District Memorial Hospital, Rural Northwest Health and West Wimmera Health Service.

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