A FORMER Coles supermarket, which will be the Border's COVID-19 vaccine hub, may also become home to a new public health unit for North East Victoria.
By March 22 a 1200 square metre area should be transformed to provide immunisation shots to health workers and elderly residents.
In the meantime, AWH employees will begin receiving vaccinations at Albury Hospital from next Monday.
AWH chief executive Micheal Kalimnios said there was potential for the old supermarket to be the base for a new public health unit, akin to one which already operates under the Murrumbidgee Local Health District banner from an office in Albury.
Public health units are being established across regional Victoria after criticism the state's system was too Melbourne-centric and that had hindered the COVID response through measures such as contact tracing.
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"We're certainly looking to this site as a potential location for that, obviously we need to work through ourselves what we actually need in terms of a permanent long-term location for a public health unit," Mr Kalimnios said at the site.
"Given we've got a footprint here, it is central, it will be fitted out for medical use, certainly there's a good opportunity potentially for us to use this site long-term.
"In terms of...a public health facility we would use it for immunisation programs, contact tracing, environmental health, disease management."
The High Street site has previously been approved by Wodonga Council for use as a pharmacy by Chemist Warehouse following Coles shifting from the premises to Mann Central in 2017.
Chemist Warehouse is tipped to open in a revised area of the entire 2300 square metre space next month.
That is the view of property agent Michael Spektor, who has been involved in the rebirth of the property with Chemist Warehouse.
"The pharmacy will join AWH in that same building, there are some revised plans with council to approve (beforehand)," Mr Spektor said.
When the Chemist Warehouse opens, the nearby co-owned Guardian Pharmacy in High Street will close.
Asked about co-location, Mr Kalimnios said he was "not aware of Chemist Warehouse's interest in the site".
"We just need to make sure if we do take up occupancy in the longer term sense that the facility is appropriate for our use, other tenants I'm sure will be a matter for council," he said.
Wodonga mayor Kev Poulton said "obviously there had been plans for sometime with this site" and it was good to see it in use again.
AWH intends to carry out 150 vaccinations in its first week of immunising and 500 in the following week.
Staff are being contacted with appointment times for the Pfizer jab.
Mr Kalimnios expect the full vaccination program being conducted by AWH to be completed by spring.
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