“Saving and sustaining lives”: Pharmacists on the frontline at Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre

The pharmacy at the Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre where WSLHD is working in partnership with Baxter Healthcare.

Ensuring the quality and safety of up to 18,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses per day, pharmacists play a vital role in Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre operating to its full potential.

A team of pharmacists and clinicians are responsible for carefully drawing up each dose into individual syringes to exact measurements. Every vial delivered to Qudos Bank Arena contains six doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.

Baxter Healthcare Compounding Services has been supporting the vaccination centre by overseeing the preparation of doses to help ensure not a single drop goes to waste. 

Project lead Deborah Murphy said it is an honour to be involved in such an important cause. 

“I think I can speak for the whole of Baxter Healthcare when I say we are extremely proud to work alongside Western Sydney Local Health District and NSW Health in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to the community,” Deb said. 

“At the moment we are preparing over 10,000 vaccine doses a day, and we have the capacity for 20,000. It truly feels like we are on the frontline of saving and sustaining lives.

“What would typically be a four-hour turnaround from receiving to dispatch is done in 20 minutes. That is the speed we are working at to ensure we can vaccinate as many people as possible.

“Everything is being manufactured safely in accordance with the most rigid protocols in order to keep the community safe from this deadly virus.”

The training for this operation took place at the training court of Netball NSW’s “Netball Central” while the pharmacy for the Vaccination Centre operates from the basketball training court inside Qudos Bank Arena.

The pharmaceutical teams are on-site from 5am to 11pm every day – including weekends. 

The 18 hours spent at Qudos Bank Arena involves vaccine preparation and training pharmacists in ‘compounding’ – the process by which the vaccines go from storage below zero degrees to being in the syringe and ready to administer.

Steven Flynn, Baxter Healthcare Australia and New Zealand general manager, said the unprecedented scale of the operation could only be achieved through collaboration across the entire healthcare industry. 

“The partnership between Baxter Healthcare and Western Sydney LHD has been outstanding to see firsthand. We’re extremely proud to be supporting the vaccination program with our Baxter Compounding Services,” Steven said. 

“Thank you to everyone involved for stepping up and answering the call to vaccinate our community and safely bring NSW out of lockdown. 

“We all have a role in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.” 

Western Sydney Local Health District would like to thank Baxter Healthcare and our other partners in this mass vaccination exercise, including the NSW Police, NSW Transport, Western Sydney University, NSW Pathology and everyone coming forward for vaccination themselves.

The Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre is vaccinating anyone aged 16-49 from a local government area of concern. Book now.

For more information about the COVID-19 Vaccination Program in NSW please go to nsw.gov.au/covid-19