Mercy Health administers thousandth COVID jab

Nurse unit manager Kate Bermingham was the thousandth staff member at Werribee Mercy Hospital to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Supplied)

Michaela Meade

A Werribee Mercy Hospital staff member has received the thousandth dose of COVID-19 vaccine for the site.

Nurse unit manager Kate Bermingham was chosen to have the momentous jab following intense work during the pandemic last year.

“We were asked to move an entire ward… of 24 acute hospital beds,” Ms Bermingham said.

“We moved to a 32 bed area [and] a significant number of patients were coming through the [emergency department] to our ward.

“We were there for a total of 19 weeks.”

Described as a “genuine” woman, Ms Bermingham said her lived experience through managing the large COVID ward last year made her “very willing” to get vaccinated.

“I’m enormously proud,” she said.

“[Last year] was really quite devastating from a nursing perspective… we had lots of people passing away without contact with family.

“I feel safer [having had the vaccine]… we’re all just really pleased that it’s been fast tracked, approved, safe, and effective.”

Ms Bermingham said she felt the community has a “social duty”, with Mercy Health highlighting the “fast moving” situation in Brisbane as evidence of why people should get vaccinated.

“I want to encourage everyone to vaccinate,” Ms Bermingham said.

“In the absence of [the vaccine] we might find ourselves in the same place as last year.

“There’s still people suffering eight months down the track from COVID symptoms.

“Now that we have this available, we should use it… we all have a moral obligation.”