IT WAS over before Elaine Wellings even realised it was happening.
But the 77-year-old Elermore Vale resident was one of the first people in the Hunter to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from her GP.
Mrs Wellings received the first of two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at Hamilton Doctors on Tuesday after the highly anticipated vaccine supplies arrived and local general practices stepped up to play their part in the rollout.
She said she felt privileged to receive the vaccine early and had "no hesitations" about getting the jab.
"I just saw what it was like overseas and didn't want that to happen here," she said.
"I think this is a necessity. I think you'd be silly not to have it if and when you can.
"I went to lunch with all my school friends the other day and we were all talking about it, and we all agreed we should be having it."
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Hamilton Doctors' Dr Ben Seckold said there had been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the vaccine and the process of immunisation, but they were feeling "a lot more comfortable" now that they had begun to vaccinate.
"I think it's our obligation to help vaccinate our community," Dr Seckold said. "We are proud to be doing our part to protect our most vulnerable patients."
I just saw what it was like overseas and didn't want that to happen here. I think this is a necessity.Elaine Wellings, 77, after receiving her COVID-19 vaccine from her GP.
But since the practice was identified as one of the 280 sites in the Hunter and Central Coast region participating in the region, the phone had not stopped ringing.
"We have been taking thousands of phone calls," he said. "Hundreds of people are on the waiting list already. We've had lots of criticism, mostly from new patients who are desperate to get it, but unfortunately, we don't have the supplies.
"Our receptionists have been copping a lot of abuse. We had to change our phone system to a recorded message to deal with the volume."
Priority population groups in this phase of the rollout include those 70 years of age or older, health care workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults over 55 years, younger people with an underlying medical condition or disability, and critical, high-risk workers.
The federal government has insisted more Australians will be able to book appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations as the program expands.
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