Kids roll up their sleeves

Anitha with her two Children Davinah (6) and Darren (8), who proudly showed off their new colouring book and fidget spinner. Pictures: ROB CAREW 264697_03

By Gabriella Payne

Kids from across the Cardinia Shire have been rolling up their sleeves and doing their bit for the wider community over the past week, as vaccination centres welcomed 5-11 year olds from Monday 10 January onwards.

Pakenham’s James Bathe Pavilion was a hive of activity on Friday 14 January when the Gazette stopped by, as children (accompanied by their parents) eagerly got their jabs at the special paediatric wing of the EACH vaccination hub.

Laura, mum to Mabel and Herbie, said that their experience had been a very positive one, with the whole process being incredibly “smooth“ overall.

“I think it’s really well organised,“ she said.

“It’s good that it’s focused for kids and that the staff are doing a little bit extra to make sure they are doing okay and not scared.“

Dad, Matt, agreed and said the “professional level of distractions“ had been fantastic.

Another mother, Anitha, said that she had been quite nervous beforehand – but she and her two children, Darren and Davinah, were all quickly made to feel at ease and the level of communication at the vaccination centre was exceptional.

“The ambience in there is just so good,“ Anitha said.

“I was really stressed when I came in, but all the staff are really friendly and it’s a good set up where they make the kids feel comfortable by drawing pictures and all sorts – a kind of diversional thing – so yeah, it was great!“

10 year-old James, who loves dinosaurs, said that instead of butterflies, he had had “pterodactyls“ in his tummy beforehand, but was feeling good after getting his vaccine, and mum Vanessa said she was very impressed by his bravery.

Clinical lead nurse immuniser, Roslyn Devienne, said that it had been great to see so many local kids and their parents coming in and making use of the centre so far and the team hoped to see many more make appointments in the coming weeks.

“It’s a great environment,“ she said.

“The kids get to draw their names on leaves and then put them on the tree and we’ve got bubble machines, we’ve got people to help, we’ve got little toys to play with – so we try to make it as fun as possible, and I think they are really enjoying it so far.

“At the moment it’s all based on how much of the vaccine we can get,“ she explained, “but we are going to be ramping up from next week and hope to get through as many people as possible.“

For more information or to book yours or your child’s vaccine appointment, head to