Almost half of all eligible year 12 students from western and south-western Sydney have registered to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination, less than 72 hours after receiving a booking link.
More than 20,000 links offering first-dose vaccination appointments were sent to students in the eight COVID-19 hot spot areas of Greater Sydney with students responding en masse.
Day one of the mass vaccination initiative was fully booked, with almost 3,000 senior students arriving promptly for their designated appointments at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park.
Owen Hainsworth from The Ponds High School was one of the first students through the doors and said he was hugely grateful for the opportunity to be vaccinated ahead of his HSC trials and exams.
“This is a milestone to move forward, away from this pandemic. I think everyone needs to get the jab; if everyone does their part then we can find our normal again,” Owen said.
“It’s a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel just being able to know that in a couple of weeks’ time after my second dose I’ll hopefully be able to go back to school for the HSC.”
Lauren Briggs from Liverpool, a year 12 student at St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove, said she breathed a sigh of relief after receiving her first COVID-19 vaccination.
“The outbreak happening before trials has been stressful but now I feel like I’m protecting myself, my family and Sydney,” Lauren said.
“It’s a relief that I’ll be able to sit my HSC. It’s been 13 years working up to this moment and it feels good to hopefully be able to sit my exams in person thanks to this vaccine.”
NSW Health is offering 24,000 first-dose vaccination appointments in total between August 9 and 14.
The HSC class of 2021 in the affected LGAs of Canterbury-Bankstown, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Cumberland, Blacktown, Parramatta, Liverpool and Georges River, are all eligible to get vaccinated.
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) chief executive Graeme Loy said the Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre will be the first of its kind in NSW, supporting the vaccination rollout.
“This set up of this facility has truly been a team effort and we are enormously grateful to NSW Transport, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, NSW Police, Western Sydney University, Baxter and NSW Pathology to help us to deliver this critical service to our year 12 students,” Mr Loy said.