Department of Health
West Metro Vaccination Program Partners
In January 2021, Western Health was requested by the Victorian Department of Health to establish the West Metro Vaccination Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The key objective of the West Metro Vaccination Program was to deliver a high level of vaccine coverage in order to obtain maximum community benefit to the 1.52 million people in the Western Region of Melbourne.
The West Metro Vaccination Program administered over 1.4 million doses to a catchment area spanning 64 km from east to west and 57 km north to south across the Western Metropolitan Region.
Ensuring equity and access to the community living in the West Metro catchment was achieved by designing and developing various and innovative options in addition to the high volume vaccination sites. This included outreach clinics, in-home vaccination services, pop-ups at COVID outbreak areas, popular shopping strips, schools, markets and festivals. At times these sites would be scoped, planned and established within 24 hours. Coordinating the care involved collaboration with Western Health staff and the Department of Health, local government councils, business owners, religious leaders, sporting clubs representatives and community and cultural leaders.
The service model for the West Metro Vaccination Program involved a range of delivery strategies to address the variety of consumer needs and the geographic and demographic features of the catchment. It incorporated the following elements:
Provision of vaccination
- High volume centres; Sunshine Hospital, Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Eagle Stadium (Wyndham), Melton
- Access according to eligibility; critical and high-risk workers, health care workers, aged and disability workers, general population
- Esablishment of a Victorian Specialist Immunisation Service at Western Health for both adults and children to provision immunisation care to high risk patients
- Red Zone vaccination for high-risk occupations
- General practice program for elderly and people with underlying medical conditions
- Outreach vaccination program for vulnerable populations: mobile services, partnership with primary care, C-19, strategies for; RACF, high risk workforce (meat workers, port of entry workers, correctional facilities) and border workers (Melbourne Airport site)
Partnering agency coordination including:
- Review of program functions; Risk identification, assessment, and management; Coordination of activities
- Development of localised communications strategies to target specific communities and enhance uptake
Monitoring, surveillance, redesign
- Data collection and analysis to monitor program rollout (geographic and population cohort utilization)
- Evaluation and redesign (review program and redesign the model to reflect changing needs)
The West Metro COVID-19 Vaccination Program administered 1.46 million doses in clinics where Western Health was the Lead Provider, accounting for 23.5 percent of State Clinic doses administered. The most active sites where Western Health was the Lead Provider include Sunshine Hospital (351,228 doses), Convention Centre (282,238 doses), and Melbourne Showgrounds (237,884 doses). The activity levels at these three sites, was among the six busiest in the state. During its peak, WH vaccinated more than 2,000 people a day at Melbourne Showgrounds and a daily peak of 2200 doses at Sunshine Hospital, an enormous combined total of over 4,400 doses just at these two sites.
Australia’s first drive-through vaccination service; the most innovative outcome for the West Metro Vaccination Program was the establishment of Australia’s first COVID-19 drive through vaccination service at Melton in August 2021, followed soon after by the Wyndham Drive Through. This enabled an alternative and innovative option for communities to access vaccination without even getting out of their cars. Just under 100,000 vaccine doses were delivered at our Melton and Wyndham Drive throughs.
Sedation Services; one of the key highlights for the program was the Victorian Specialty Immunisation Services (VicSis) establishment of the provision of the paediatric sedation service in collaboration with our Disability Liaison Officers and Perioperative Services for adult sedation service. A total of 268 episodes of care provided at supported / distraction / nitrous clinics and during Day Procedure Unit for sedation. At any one session, a multidisciplinary team of up to ten clinicians work collaboratively to vaccinate up to five patients with the COVID-19 vaccine, including staff from the West Metro Vaccination Program, Disability Liaison Services, anaesthetics and theatre teams. It was a very patient-centred approach to offering vaccination, and is the truest alignment to our organisational purpose “Working collaboratively to provide quality health and well-being services for the people of the West”. The service was extra special as it provided the right care to the right patient at the right time by the right people. It was very rewarding to see people who needed extra support receive their COVID-19 vaccination and the vaccine recipients and their families were so grateful.
The West Metro Vaccination Program was delivered as a means of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the morbidity and mortality from the illness; reducing transmission among communities; and enabling community activities to resume with minimal restrictions.
Having a predominantly Western Health team, the knowledge and exposure to the WH Best Care Framework allowed us to deliver this successful program. The West Metro vaccination program are so proud to have delivered this service to its community.