THERE was plenty of enthusiasm for the first COVID-19 vaccines at the new Belmont hub, with a line of people forming ahead of its opening early on Monday morning.
Chad Nean, of Adamstown Heights, was first in line to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination on Monday, with the 41-year-old accountant saying he did not hesitate to book in for an appointment as soon as he was eligible.
"The sooner we can get this done, the better," he said.
"It's for the community, for myself, and for my family.
"I just want things to get back to normal as soon as possible, and being able to do what we want to do, when we want to do it."
Rachel Hollis, a 49-year-old aged care worker from Pokolbin, was also one of the first people through the mass vaccination hub.
Ms Hollis spoke to the Newcastle Herald while sitting in the final waiting area. She had a time sticker on her shirt, and she pointed to a clock on the wall - there to help ensure she waited the appropriate amount of time after her vaccine before she left the centre.
She said it was "seamless", and the nurse had made her feel really comfortable.
"I work in aged care, so first and foremost, getting the vaccine is a mandated requirement," she said.
"But I also think this is the way forward.
"I want to keep my community safe, and I want to keep my family safe. So it was important to do the right thing for me."
While there has been some teething problems with the online booking system for the mass vaccination hub, Hunter New England Health chief Michael DiRienzo said they were being addressed.
"The online system, like any system, has had a couple of glitches you could say," he said.
"But at the end of the day you have to remember that we got this thing up and running well within six weeks - the system and infrastructure - and we are just going through those particular little things that happen in all systems.
"I'm very confident that in the next few days all of those issues will be picked up.
"But people have been booking. It has been an enormous turn out, and I think our system is coping with it."
People who were previously booked in to have their vaccination at the John Hunter Hospital vaccine clinic will now be vaccinated at the Belmont hub.
Mr DiRienzo said it was "bookings only by appointment" at the hub.
Click here to check your eligibility and make an appointment.
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