The Monash Health Vaccination Bus makes its last stop

On Saturday 17 December, the Monash Health Vaccination Bus made its last stop on the road to vaccinating our community.

The Vaccination Bus, which hit the road on 3 December 2021, aimed to make vaccination more accessible by travelling around Melbourne’s South East and offering walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations for the community.

In partnership with Ventura Bus Lines, a 56-seat passenger bus was remodelled to create a mobile vaccination clinic to vaccinate patients within 15 minutes of arriving on site.

The bus visited over 70 sites, including festivals, universities, schools, shopping centres and sporting events and administered over 6000 vaccinations during the past year.

Dee Loader, Nurse Manager of Mobile Vaccination, said, “the initial drive for the Vaccination Bus was to support communities with low vaccination rates and provide them with health messaging and vaccinations.”

“By working together with bicultural healthcare workers and translation services, we were able to better engage and support culturally and linguistically diverse communities in the South East.”

Collaboration between Monash Health and community leaders was integral to ensuring the Vaccination Bus could provide access to vaccinations to as many people as possible.

Dee explains, “many of the people we vaccinated on the bus were unable to get to mass vaccination sites. Therefore, we worked closely with our Monash Health Engagement Team and community leaders to earn community trust, increase public health awareness and provide easy and equitable access to the vaccine.”

There have been many great memories for the vaccination team during their time on the bus, including delivering a record 162 vaccinations in one day at Monash University.

Dee said another highlight was when the bus stopped at the St Kilda Peanut Farm in early January 2022.

“We did over 160 vaccinations in a few hours, a huge amount for our small team of three. There was so much demand for vaccines, but the people were wonderful, happily waiting their turn on the grass in the sun. It was such a great atmosphere that day which included an impromptu visit from the former Health Minister Martin Foley, who was walking his dog!” she said.

The Vaccination Team at Monash Health was essential to the operation of the bus to deliver vaccines to vulnerable community members, and we thank them for their hard work.

When reflecting on the year, Dee said, “it is sad the bus is finishing, but it has been an amazing year with a great team, and we feel we have made a real impact in protecting the health and wellbeing of our community.”

Thank you to everyone who was involved in supporting, operating and visiting the Vaccination Bus. Each and every vaccination help protect our community.