End of an era ‘at the coalface’: Blacktown Hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic is closing its doors

December 2021 stands out as a big moment for staff at the Blacktown Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

Sydney was struggling through its highest number of cases and Blacktown was at the coalface of Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) COVID response.

Shah Huda, Vaccination System Support Lead in the Western Sydney COVID-19 Vaccination Program, said this was one of the many times that the hard work of the clinic’s staff really shone.

Rayyan Rahman, 5, is the last patient to receive a vaccination at the Blacktown Hospital COVID Vaccination clinic

“Blacktown Hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic was designed to vaccinate 800 recipients a day. Staff were on leave and others were sick with COVID – we were anticipating a Christmas slowdown,” he said.

“The summer COVID wave created unprecedented demand and saw my WSLHD colleague Leanne Watson the Acting Vaccination Program Lead and her team deliver over 1000 vaccinations a day between Christmas and the new year.

“This was a great achievement for the team in light of the challenges in resources and demand in vaccination from the community.”

The doors of the clinic first opened on 30 March, 2021 and after running for almost two years, the clinic shuts down on 23 December, 2022.

Following the fantastic effort by the local community to get vaccinated over the past two years, the scaling down of the clinic closes a chapter of critical care during a historic period in Australian healthcare.

“As Blacktown Hospital is a local landmark and one the community are familiar with, the service was able to set up a safe and convenient space at the SIMS centre for community residents to receive their vaccinations,” Shah said.

“The clinic was able to provide numerous pathways for vaccinations including general public, high risk needs, low sensory needs as well as paediatric vaccinations. The broad range of services meant that vulnerable community members we able to get fair and equitable access as well as convenient vaccinations in a familiar setting.

“The clinic was only possible with the unwavering support of the SIMS Centre, Dr Harry Elizaga Emergency Department Staff Specialist, his team and Jasmine Ellis General Manager Integrated & Community Health.”

Meera Patel, WSLHD COVID-19 Vaccination Program Lead, said being able to witness the passion of the staff in delivering this essential care has been a career highlight.

“The vaccination program was a beacon of hope for the Blacktown community during the pandemic,” she said.

“The COVID-19 outbreak locally and worldwide has been the most challenging experience that we as healthcare workers have faced. The vaccination program was a quick and robust service initiated to provide safe vaccinations to the valuable and most vulnerable community members.”

COVID-19 vaccinations are readily available at GPs and pharmacies. To find your nearest vaccination clinic, click here.