PAM Wray had a front row seat to the power and the value of mass vaccination during the polio era.
So the former Royal Newcastle Hospital nurse had no hesitations to roll up her sleeve to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the Maroba aged care facility in Waratah on Thursday.
"I came up in the era of the polio vaccination period when I was nursing," Mrs Wray, 86, said. "I nursed people with polio, and then the polio injections came and stopped people from getting it. I still believe in stopping all the dreadful things that can happen."
Mrs Wray said it felt "wonderful" to have a little more protection against COVID-19 now.
"The things that can happen to you if you get it are not good," she said.
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The aged care facility's general manager, Louise Adnum, said 137 of their 141 residents received their first Pfizer jabs on Thursday.
"We've had a 97 per cent uptake of residents consenting to receive the vaccine," she said. "It is definitely a move forward for our elderly residents. I think it will give them some more freedoms and more security and help them feel safe."
Ms Adnum said the past 12 months had been hard on all aged care residents, and staff. But this felt like a step towards normality.
"We definitely tried to keep the residents' spirits up to be able to keep them happy - but an integral part of their lives is seeing their family, and when they couldn't, we did see some changes in their mood," she said. "I think this will give them that level of confidence going forward."
Ms Adnum said they were still waiting to hear about staff vaccinations, which were supposed to occur in 1A of the rollout too.
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