A new service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) is helping members of the community with severe needle phobia get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The RAH’s Specialist Vaccination Clinic worked with operating theatre anaesthetists and managers to create a process where patients could be booked in for sedation and then be provided the vaccine from the vaccination team.
The vaccination under sedation service helps people who can’t attend a mass vaccination clinic. This can include people with a disability, anxiety or severe needle phobias.
Specialist Vaccination Clinic Nurse Unit Manager Melanie said it’s helped patients who wouldn’t have been able to access the COVID-19 vaccination anywhere else.
“It’s been very successful, and we’ve managed to vaccinate 17 patients so far with fortnightly lists happening,” Melanie said.
“We have been able to build a program that enables people to be vaccinated in a safe and supportive manner – to have been a part of this has been an honour.”
Specialist Vaccination Nurse Consultant Aida said it’s been a rewarding experience to watch the clinic expand into meeting the needs of a community group who had not been able to be vaccinated.
“When we see the outcomes and relief on both families and patients faces – the fact that they have overcome their fears and managed to walk through the doors shows that they have put their trust into us and for me that is very rewarding,” Aida said.
Bernadine is the mother of Josh who recently received his second vaccination under sedation.
“We tried to have Josh vaccinated four times in Mt Gambier and he’d go in, sit down and roll his sleeve up but as soon as he saw the needle, he wasn’t having a bar of it,” Bernadine said.
“Our GP then referred us to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.”
Bernadine was extremely impressed with the process and said Josh, who is autistic, was never in distress.
“He’s been much better with it than I thought he would be, and I think that’s down to the organisation of it,” Bernadine said.
“It was quick, they’re not out for very long and the staff were all very aware of his additional needs and that helped.”
“The staff have all been fabulous, from the front desk to the nurses and anaesthetists.”
It was important for Bernadine that Josh gets vaccinated to minimise symptoms if he does get COVID and so there’s no restrictions on where he can go.
“I think it’s a good thing for him and he can now go wherever he needs to go.”