“It was just a little pin prick,” she said, as a lovely smile beamed across her face.
And with that, 92-year-old Olwyn Dennis became a part of something very special happening now all over the world, receiving the first of two immunisation shots that will protect her against COVID-19.
On Friday, Olwyn and her fellow residents of BRHS’ aged care facility, Maddocks Gardens, were the latest group of more than 500 aged care residents in Gippsland to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Residents of aged care facilities are part of the ‘Phase 1A’ priority group, deemed to have the greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19.
COVID-19 is much more likely to be severe in older people and people with certain medical problems than in young healthy people.
About 1 of every 3 people over the age of 80 years who get COVID-19 will die from it, and COVID-19 can spread very quickly in residential care facilities because people are close to each other.
“This vaccine could save my life,” Olwyn said, describing it as “an early birthday present.”
“It is very important to help protect all of us.”
The vaccines were given by specially-trained nurses from Latrobe Regional Hospital, working as part of the collaborative Gippsland Public Health Unit.
BRHS staff, too, have been trained to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine and will be tasked with administering doses in future phases of the vaccine rollout.
BRHS CEO, Robyn Hayles, said she was relieved to see the vaccine rolling out at Maddocks Gardens.
“Our staff, residents and community have all worked so hard over the past 12 months to prevent the spread of COVID and keep each other safe,” she said. “It is great to see our residents receiving their immunisations.”
Immunisation for residential aged care staff and other frontline health care workers, both clinical and non-clinical, will follow.
For more information about getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Victoria, visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine