The End of an Era for the St Vincent’s Vaccination Centre at the Royal Exhibition Building
Victorian COVID Commander, Jeroen Weimar stopped by the Royal Exhibition Building on its last day to thank the St Vincent's Vaccination Team for their efforts.
On Monday 22 March 2021, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne began delivering COVID-19 vaccinations at the Royal Exhibition Building. After 366 days and more than 400,000 vaccinations, Victoria’s flagship centre has closed its doors for the final time.
The year-long vaccination effort leaves behind a sense of camaraderie and significance that will long be remembered by St Vincent’s staff and the community they served.
Angela Nolan, Chief Executive Officer, said the hospital was proud to be called on to stand up and operate the first high-volume vaccination centre in Victoria.
“At St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, we have a long and proud history of taking care to the community, particularly those most vulnerable.
“Our Vaccination Centre at the Royal Exhibition Building is a great example of this and it’s been a privilege to partner with the Department of Health and Museums Victoria,” said Ms Nolan.
At the height of the rollout, St Vincent’s directly employed more than 600 staff in its vaccination, pharmacy, administration, and management teams.
Staff members joined the team from the hospitality and retail sectors, having previously lost their jobs during the pandemic. Some came out of retirement to bolster the initiative, driven by a shared purpose of supporting the community.
Many of these staff members will remain employed through St Vincent’s and help to support other ongoing vaccination initiatives.
Susan White, Operations Manager of St Vincent’s Vaccination Programs said the achievements of the Centre are a testament to the staff who worked tirelessly to deliver vaccinations to the Victorian community.
“Our teams went above and beyond to provide exceptional and personal support to the thousands of people who came through the doors at the Royal Exhibition Building.
“In particular, I’m going to remember those days we spent outside talking with Victorians standing in the queues that were snaking around the sides of the building.
“These times were often in a lockdown when nerves and anticipation were high. Answering people’s questions and being able to share a laugh lightened the mood and kept us inspired through these times,” said Ms White.
While it’s the end of a chapter for the St Vincent’s Vaccination Centre at the Royal Exhibition Building, St Vincent’s teams continue to support the state’s COVID vaccine rollout through the operation of a high-volume centre at the Campbellfield Ford Complex, as well as outreach and in-reach programs to provide vaccinations for vulnerable communities.