An infectious diseases specialist was the first frontline healthcare worker to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.
Dr Aiveen Bannan had her first dose of the AstraZenica vaccine on Monday (March 29).
That marked the start of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout at Port Macquarie Base Hospital vaccination clinic with frontline healthcare workers rolling up their sleeves to receive the jab.
Dr Bannan said it was really incredible the vaccination program was being rolled out a little over 12 months since this virus was first identified in China.
"Here we are not much than a year later with a vaccination program worldwide involving multiple vaccines, which is really phenomenal," she said.
Dr Bannan praised people's response to the pandemic including being tested, staying at home when unwell and embracing hand hygiene and social distancing.
Vaccination is another weapon against COVID-19.
She encouraged people to receive the vaccine when it became available to them.
Port Macquarie Base Hospital intensivist Dr Rob Hislop, Aboriginal health worker Adrian Daley and emergency department nursing unit manager Donna Hughes were also among the first staff to receive the vaccine in Port Macquarie.
Mr Daley said the vaccine provided another layer in the fight against COVID-19.
"For me, as a dad and a pop, it's a no-brainer [to get the vaccine]," he said.
"I can get vaccinated as a health worker, very soon my family will be able to get [COVID-19] vaccinations."
Mr Daley urged others to be vaccinated as the National Vaccination Program rolls out in stages.
Dr Hislop felt incredibly lucky to be one of the first locally to have the vaccine.
"I think we are all incredibly fortunate to be able to start getting vaccinated only about a year after a new disease has developed," he said.
He encouraged everyone able to get the vaccine to do so, not just to protect themselves but as part of a community response so we could develop herd immunity.
Emergency department nursing unit manager Donna Hughes said it was a great day.
"Myself and my staff are excited about this next stage," she said.
"I feel privileged to be one of the first to receive this [vaccination] and I know my team is looking forward to having their jabs, and what it means for us and the community."
Mid North Coast Local Health district chief executive Stewart Dowrick described the opening of the Port Macquarie vaccination clinic as a significant milestone in the local COVID-19 response.
"The vaccination clinic will provide those frontline healthcare workers with the greatest risks of potential exposure to COVID-19 with local access to the vaccine," he said.
The Coffs Harbour Health Campus vaccination hub opened on March 17.
The AstraZenica vaccine is given in two doses.
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