Hundred-years-old Grace Symonds has lived through World Wars and the Great Depression and now is about to be one of the first aged care residents on the NSW Mid North Coast to have the COVID-19 vaccination.

Key points:

  • Port Macquarie aged care facilities are receiving their vaccines first on the Mid North Coast
  • Aged care resident Grace Symonds says she thinks the vaccine will be a good thing
  • Garden Village CEO Craig Wearne says a small percentage of residents have chosen not to get vaccinated

The resident of Garden Village aged care facility in Port Macquarie said she wasn’t worried about receiving the shot on Saturday.

“I don’t worry until I see something I need to worry about — there’s plenty of other things out there, and I’m in a safe place,” Ms Symonds said.

Ms Symonds said the pandemic was not like any other major event she had lived through.

“I think this one is so scary compared to the others,” she said.

“We’ve had our ups and downs over my 100 years with the war and those kinds of things, but I’ve had all the experiences people wish that they could have or even not want to have.”

Three Garden Village staff stand behind 100 year old Grace who sits in front, all smiling.

Residents at Garden Village aged care facility will be receiving the vaccine in Port Macquarie over the weekend.(

ABC Mid North Coast: Hannah Palmer

)

Ms Symonds said she didn’t think there was any alternative other than for everyone to be vaccinated.

“The thing’s been so bad with so many people lost,” she said.

“I don’t know whether [anyone] will survive or whether they’ll knock it on the head, but it can’t last forever — nothing lasts forever whether it’s good or bad.”

CEO confident in the rollout

Garden Village chief executive Craig Wearne said staff at the aged care facility were looking forward to launching the Pzifer vaccination program this week.

“We will be employing additional staff over the weekend and executive supervision as well to ensure that it is a seamless approach to the vaccination process.”

Mr Wearne said there was a small percentage of residents who had chosen not to receive the vaccine.

“We have provided a lot of information to our residents, families and staff about the vaccine to enable them to make an informed decision because this is a personal choice,” he said.

A gloved hand holds up a small vial of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

The aged care residents in Port Macquarie will receive the Pfizer vaccine.(

AP: Mike Morones

)

‘It will be a gamechanger’

The Commonwealth aged care vaccination rollout in northern NSW is being facilitated by Healthy North Coast, which delivers the North Coast Primary Health Network Program.

Healthy North Coast spokesperson, Bron McCrae said the work to roll out the vaccine was more important than any other practices put in place during the pandemic.

“The work we are doing informing our residents, the staff and our community to get vaccinated will be a gamechanger,” Ms McCrae said.

“I know there’s been hiccups [with the rollout], but if you think what this means, the work the government has done and planning that has gone into this is mammoth.

‘Maybe that’s how this ends’:100yo ready to receive COVID-19 vaccine and crush pandemic
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