HUNTER residents have been urged to pre-book their COVID-19 jab appointments at the new Belmont Vaccination Centre to make the process "seamless" and help the centre reach its target of 20,000 patients a week.
Hunter New England Local Health District Chief Executive Michael DiRienzo said the mass vaccination centre, located in the 12,000 square metre former Bunnings site and modelled on the Homebush centre, would open on July 19 and operate seven days a week.
Appointments for the John Hunter Hospital clinic on or after July 19 will be transferred to Belmont.
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"We will have the capability to do Pfizer and AstraZeneca," Mr DiRienzo said.
"At this stage what we're doing is we're moving across [from John Hunter] with Pfizer and then when we have AstraZeneca then people will have that opportunity."
He said he was confident the centre would have sufficient supplies of Pfizer.
He said the centre could "comfortably" administer 20,000 vaccinations a week and could scale up if required.
"It's clearly obvious if you're vaccinated you're, one, protecting yourself but you're also protecting the rest of the community," he said.
"This particular virus hasn't gone away so I think we've got to be very, very careful and again encourage people to maintain social distancing, do the right thing for the community and we'll get through this."
However Mr DiRienzo said he did not encourage walk-ins.
"We would prefer for people to use the [booking] system because it means it will be more seamless, but we're not going to turn away anybody that does arrive."
He said vaccines would be administered in line with the government's vaccine eligibility checker, but not limited to people from the region.
"We're not going to be restricted, what we'd like to do is have as many people as possible, but I would suggest given the distance from Sydney and given our location, our preference would be to vaccinate our Hunter people and of course the Central Coast."
The centre will be staffed by up to 100 nurses and 25 pharmacists or pharmacy technicians, as well as 200 other support staff.
Patients will use airport-style kiosks to check in, before approaching one of 30 registration desks.
The centre has a 200-seat pre-vaccination area, 35 vaccination stations and a 300-seat post-vaccination waiting area.
It also has a pharmacy area with space for 38 people to prepare the vaccine, as well as a medical treatment bay.
The centre will have two doctors, a paramedic and an ambulance on site at all times.
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