Working for Whitehorse - immunisation nurse

Whitehorse News - September 2021

Taking the pinch out of vaccinations

Although the importance of vaccines is a hot topic at the moment, it’s nothing new for Alex Flintoff.

Alex is an immunisation nurse and the Nurse in charge at Whitehorse City Council. Alex and her team work hard to ensure Whitehorse residents of all ages are healthy and vaccinated.

“Most days, we do vaccinations for kids who are 6 months to 4 years of age. We run 10 vaccination sessions per month and see between 35 and 50 clients in a 1.5 hour session,” said Alex.

“A typical day involves preparing the vaccines for that session, vaccinating the children with a team of nurses, caring for the clients postvaccination and preparing for the next session."

The immunisation nurses at Whitehorse also serve 12 local schools and run yearly flu vaccination programs for eligible residents and Whitehorse staff.

“I love working here, it’s a friendly environment and we have a great team that are committed to vaccination and making sure it all goes well,” said Alex.

“Our nursing team are excellent, they’re all very experienced with a broad range of knowledge.”

Alex’s favourite part of her job is being able to care for people and make the process of getting vaccinated less nervewracking.

“A lot of people, young or old, get stressed about having a needle, so we try and make it as fast and easy for them as possible,” she said.

“Distraction is the best thing. For adults, we distract with conversation. For children, we  might use bubbles, videos or colouring in books, for example, but with COVID restrictions we haven’t been able to use many of our usual techniques.”

This has been one of the many challenges that COVID has brought upon Alex and her team. “Although Council doesn’t have a direct role in COVID vaccinations, the past year has been fairly intense as vaccines in general have never been under such a close microscope by the public,” said Alex.

“We’ve spent a lot of time making sure people have got the correct information.” When it comes to any anxieties you may have about any type of vaccination, Alex’s advice is simple: talk to the experts.

“Contact a respected health professional, such as your GP or even our environmental health team here at Whitehorse so that your questions are answered in a scientific and correct manner. Don’t rely on Dr Google!”

“If you’re nervous on the day of a vaccine, make sure you eat and drink plenty on water, don’t wear clothes that make you hot and tell the immunisation provider your concerns so that they can take extra care.”

More information
whitehorse.vic.gov.au/immunisation