“Roll up your Sleeves” for Community Kindness

Tuesday 3 August 2021

The joint project to vaccinate people in at-risk groups against COVID-19 at the Ozanam Learning Centre in Woolloomooloo has seen more than 200 doses given on each day it has operated.

The St Vincent de Paul Society, St Vincent’s Hospital, the Kirketon Road Centre, and the City of Sydney have been pooling their resources to make it happen since May this year.

The result has been a very well attended clinic that feels more like a community gathering and one that has people clamouring for their chance to return for their second doses.

Outside of lockdown, it comes complete with a sausage sizzle, gift bags for people receiving the vaccines, and a bright atmosphere that feels at odds with what you’d usually expect from a serious health service.

Because it very much is that – the expertise of the health professionals, the logistics required to move people through the venue in a COVID-safe manner, and the capacity to deal with outside factors like strong interest from the media are all on display.

During lockdown, it’s a bit more subdued but that community spirit shines through.

One of the people grateful to have received their vaccination through the clinic is Chloe Cooper.

“I am doing it to see my Nan,” she said, shortly after receiving her first dose.

“The lockdown’s been extended so it’s a shame but it is what it is and I can’t see my Nan just yet.

“Although, I have made plans for once the restrictions are lifted.”

Despite a fear of needles, when offered the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID, Chloe took it with only a bit of anxiety.

“I’m petrified of needles but it’s honestly the smallest needle and you don’t even feel the pinch.

“So, it’s easy.

“It’s something that you work yourself up for but it’s for nothing because the needle itself is very, very small.

“You just turn away and it’s over and done with within three seconds,” she said.

Chloe said she’s eager to receive her second dose and she’s not just doing it for herself or her family but the whole community and she encourages others to do the same when they have the opportunity.

“I would honestly say, just roll up your sleeve – don’t panic.

“It does help the community, it does help your loved ones, overall the good outweighs the bad.

“It’s very minimal, it doesn’t take long, and – if everyone does their part – then we can get on top of this.”

Chloe says that having had the vaccine has given her a bit of peace of mind amidst the pandemic.

“I feel, since the vaccine and everything, I’m feeling more relaxed.

“It’s still going to be a bit of a panic because this isolation continues and the lockdown – that’s where the panic comes from for myself.

“But other than that, once it’s all blown over, and I’ve been fully vaccinated, I’ll be pretty good,” she said.