Over 600 and counting: How Mercy Community fast-tracked its COVID vaccination program

Pfizer pic Erin 2

Mercy Community provides support for thousands of vulnerable people, from its Residential Aged Care site at Nudgee to its Disability Accommodation and programs which support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

To ensure the safety of our team and the people we support, Mercy Community took the initiative, providing access to onsite COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to Tim Nayton, Director of Governance and Risk at Mercy Community, there are two important reasons to have the COVID vaccine—for individual protection, and to significantly help the broader community put up a critical line of defence against the virus.

“It became clear that we needed to make it as easy as possible for our team so that they could safely undertake their work and also the people we support, who are amongst the most vulnerable groups, to become vaccinated, ,” said Tim.

“Adding onsite vaccinations was absolutely logical.”

Mercy Community worked with Aspen Medical, a healthcare solutions provider contracted by the Federal Government who were able to come onsite and deliver vaccination hubs. Delivering vaccinations where there was the greatest need was the top priority.

“Our initial focus was on any people we support in residential disability and aged care who were in the Phase 1a roll out but remained unvaccinated, as well as our staff who worked in those areas,” said Tim.

This was then widened this to include the families of the vulnerable people Mercy Community supports. We started with two hubs, and received an overwhelming response and have now expanded out to other locations such as Toowoomba and Zillmere.

Now, in our most recent hub, we’ve expanded further to include other vulnerable groups such as First Nations people—mostly people in our programs or people who are closely associated with them.

Across the people we support, their close family members, and our own team, Mercy Community has helped over 600 people vaccinated against COVID-19 to date.

“I believe we have an important social and community responsibility to support and improve the health of the broader community,” said Tim “and this is a very important initiative. We encourage other organisations in the human services sector or even in the wider, corporate sector to follow suit.”

Aspen Medical Group CEO Bruce Armstrong said the organisation was pleased to support Mercy Community to vaccinate its customers and staff.

“We are thrilled to be able to play our part in protecting those in the Mercy Community and in the wider local communities from COVID-19. The team at Mercy Community have been great to work with. They are highly organised, which allows us to deliver the vaccinations efficiently,” Mr Armstrong said.

“Vaccination will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and, if you are infected, a vaccination is designed to protect you from developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.  It’s encouraging to see Mercy Community’s customers and staff willing to do their bit to protect themselves and the wider community.”

Mercy Community is in the process of scheduling their ninth hub now, which is back at Nudgee.

As a member of peak advisory body Catholic Health Australia (CHA), Mercy Community is also promoting the benefits of taking up the COVID vaccine through a co-branded campaign: ‘Get Back to the Life You Love’.

The campaign aims to give people a nudge, reminding them of the valuable human interactions they are missing out on because of the restrictions they face when there’s a lockdown.

“Vaccination is the pathway back to some sense of normality in our lives, and if our sector can play a role in getting those vaccination rates up then that is a good thing,” said CHA’s Director of Health Policy James Kemp.

“We owe it to our family, friends and the wider community to get vaccinated without delay.”

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