Making COVID-19 vaccinations a family affair

Dr Richard Halliwell and his twin daughters Rebecca and Emma

For the Halliwell family, getting the COVID-19 vaccination was just another day on the job. 

Dr Richard Halliwell and his twin daughters, Rebecca and Emma, are all frontline workers at Westmead Hospital – all involved in treating some of western Sydney’s most-ill patients.

To ensure the safety of themselves and the community, all 3 of them have rolled up their sleeves to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.  

Lining up at Westmead Hospital’s vaccination clinic, Rebecca said there was never a doubt in her mind whether getting the vaccine was the right thing to do. 

“As a health care professional, it is mandatory for us to be vaccinated against an array of diseases, and although you do not have to receive the COVID-19 vaccination if you are a health care worker, for me, it is no different,” Rebecca said.  

“I work as a clinical nurse educator in coronary care and have often cared for patients who are waiting to get their results for their COVID-19 test. 

“I have a responsibility to ensure I am not transmitting the virus to other staff, patients, or my loved ones at home.” 

Like Rebecca, her father Richard has been working throughout the pandemic and is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  

He stressed the importance of vaccination to not only health care professionals, but the wider western Sydney community. 

“A lot of people out there might be hesitant to get the vaccination because of the risks associated with it, but what they fail to remember, is there is risk in everything we do in our lives,” Dr Halliwell said. 

“Jumping on an international flight presents people with risks of blood clots. It’s why you are always encouraged to get up and go to the bathroom and to keep moving your feet. 

“People need to remember the bigger picture. Medications may have side effects, jumping on a plane may have side effects – but this doesn’t stop people from doing these things.” 

NSW has administered more than 2.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since February 22, 2021. 

The current Sydney outbreak is reason why these numbers need to continue to rise to keep the community safe. 

“The vaccine protects you. It protects the community,” said Dr Halliwell.  

“It dramatically reduces the chances of transmission, hospitalisation and death.  

“Suppose we get 70 to 80 per cent of the population vaccinated. In that case, we may not have to endure lockdowns and restrictions like we are used to today, as the virus will not be able to get a foothold in the community.”  

“As a nation, we have two choices. Stay where we are and have recurrent lockdowns and restrictions. Or get vaccinated once eligible and start moving in the direction of normality.” 

The Westmead Hospital COVID-19 vaccination clinic is one of two clinics operated by Western Sydney Local Health District with the other at Blacktown Hospital. Bookings are required for both clinics.  

To book your vaccination, go to or visit the Australian Government’s Vaccine Eligibility Checker online.