As the COVID-19 vaccination program gets underway at Umbrella Health's Wodonga practice, the new Albury site is about to open its doors.
The medical clinic in the recently constructed Hamilton building opens Monday.
Dr Ferencz Baranyay has made the switch from Gardens Medical Group to the practice and will be joined by ex-NHS GP Dr Divya Nagarajan and former local Dr Lorraine Wheeldon.
"I'll be the practice principal here, so I'm very much looking forward to delivering high quality healthcare to our patients," Dr Baranyay said.
Umbrella Health chief executive Michael Cochrane said it was exciting to open the Albury clinic after opening in Wodonga last year.
"The Wodonga clinic has been an amazing opportunity for us, which came out of the blue - we committed to Albury 18 months ago when COVID wasn't a thing - and we had the opportunity to acquire the Daintree practice," he said.
"We've added three new doctors to the region and inherited a fantastic team.
"We have a real focus on customer service, and not having patients waiting in waiting rooms for half an hour."
Umbrella Health Wodonga received approval last month to administer the AstraZeneca vaccination as part of phase 1b.
Mr Cochrane said the first vaccinations had just been received at Wodonga, with "at least one third" of calls to staff there being about jabs.
"We were meant to receive them on Monday the 12th (of April), and we received them early, on Wednesday, so that's commenced," he said.
"The supply, at this stage, is less than we would like.
"We've got capacity at a clinic the size of Wodonga to do 1200 to 1500 vaccinations a week without impacting the rest of the healthcare operation.
"We have thousands of patients on the waiting list that have expressed their desire to get the vaccine as soon as they're eligible, and those inquiries come from people who are younger people who aren't high risk (of COVID-19), as well as people who are eligible now will be eligible very very soon.
"It's been really encouraging."
Mr Cochrane said information out of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation about Pfizer vaccine being preferred over the AstraZeneca jabs for adults under 50 was too new for him to comment on.
"We'll work with the PHN and the public health authorities to do the best thing we can," he said.
"The message from us is really, we're ready, and we've got more than enough capacity to support our community to be vaccinated."
Dr Baranyay said Umbrella Health Albury patients eligible to be vaccinated under phase 1b would get the jab at the Wodonga clinic, with hopes to have the Albury clinic approved for later phases pertaining to the general public in phase 2.
"This clinic will really ramp up once the big amount of vaccine supplies come through," he said.
Mr Cochrane said with a cafe also opening in the Albury clinic and plans for more specialty offerings, it would be an addition to the city.
"We have a specialist and allied space that will open in July/August," he said.
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"We're hoping to have allied health and rehabilitation services as well."
Mr Cochrane hopes to add staff at Albury and is open to extending hours, which will be 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday to begin.
"We want to focus on those hours initially for patients while we build the practice, but certainly a long term view is to provide more access," he said.
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