The national COVID-19 vaccine rollout arrived at St Andrew's Village in Hughes this week, filling staff members and residents with hope that there could be light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
St Andrew's chief executive Deborah Booth said 170 nursing home residents and five staff members received COVID-19 vaccines on Friday. She said 97 per cent of residents elected to be vaccinated with only six residents who went without the jab.
To ensure there was no wastage of shots, 35 independent living residents, aged between 80 and 90, received vaccines ahead of schedule.
Ms Booth said most staff members had given their consent to be vaccinated and would receive the jab in the coming weeks.
"Of course you can't be vaccinated if you are pregnant or if you're planning to be pregnant, so there are some staff members in that category," she said.
"Others are just naturally reticent about it."
Ms Booth said the vaccine gave her some assurance about the safety of the residents and staff members.
"I wouldn't like to live through another year like last year. Everyone was on tenterhooks," she said.
"Even though we didn't have COVID in the ACT we were all prepared."
An important group of people vaccinated at St Andrew's Village were residents with dementia who Ms Booth described as a particularly vulnerable group to the virus.
"They'll wander from room to room - you can't ask them to self-isolate because they don't understand that concept," she said.
"That's what makes it particularly difficult to contain any kind of outbreak in aged care with that wandering behaviour."
She said news of aged care residents receiving incorrect doses of the vaccine in Queensland had worried some residents.
However, she said strict measures were in place to avoid bungles.
"Once they heard that media report [the residents] were a bit frightened," she said.
"We had a chance to sit and discuss that with them. [Nurses] are doing a double check of the dose so no one person is responsible for drawing up. It's all about that level of safety and that double checking."
St Andrew's Village care manager Kathy Pollock was one of the few staff members who received the vaccine. She said she was hopeful the vaccination drive at the aged care centre would allow families to visit their loved ones.
"We have a lot of residents whose families live interstate," Mrs Pollock said.
"We've used a lot of social media to make contact but this will mean that travel can start again so people can actually see their families. For us, it's about protecting residents. It's an added bonus that we get it today."
Mrs Pollock said the vaccine gave her hope that she could reunite with her daughter, who she has not seen in more than 12 months.
"She's in the AFP in the Northern Territory so they've been very locked down to protect their residents," she said.
"If I'm feeling this, I can imagine how our residents and their families are feeling."
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