Queues were out the door of Bendigo Health's community COVID-19 Vaccination Centre on Monday as people lined up to be one of the first to receive the AstraZeneca jab at the new venue.
Central Victoria's first mass vaccination centre was opened by Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards, who also received her first injection of the vaccine.
"It didn't hurt a bit," she said. "This is a really important moment because it means more and more people across Bendigo and Central Victoria can come here to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Today I was really thrilled to come through and have my own vaccination. It was a really important thing for me to do and I'd encourage everyone to come along to the vaccination centre.
"It's really important to make sure all of our community is protected from COVID-19.
"The reality is that if you don't get vaccinated, you are at risk of catching COVID-19 so the best outcome for all of us, including your family, is to have the vaccination and have it done as soon as possible."
The opening of the vaccination centre comes as an investigation is under way after two likely positive cases of COVID-19 were detected in Melbourne's northern suburbs.
The clinic, operated by Bendigo Health, has the capabilities to vaccinate 1000 people a day with 40 cubicles fitted in the venue as well as a large waiting and recovery area.
Bendigo Health chair Bob Cameron said it was great to see so many people attend the vaccination centre on the first day of operation.
"To be able to open the state government vaccination centre in Bendigo is great news," he said. "We want people to come.
"I want you to think of the United Kingdom, they've had a lot of deaths and 99 per cent of those are people over the age of 50. We can't afford to have an outbreak here if you haven't been vaccinated.
"Every case can potentially get away from us and all it does is highlight the need to be vaccinated.
"It's fantastic to see so many people here. Everyone who gets the shot is protected but also they're protecting other people."
Currently, people over the age of 50 can receive the AstraZeneca vaccination as well as essential workers and adults with an underlying medical condition or significant disability.
Bamawm retirees Rod and Kerry Dennis travelled for more than an hour to receive their vaccine.
"I think we should all be vaccinated," Mr Dennis said. "We couldn't get into our local GP for the vaccination until late July so we thought we'd come over here."
Mrs Dennis said the process of getting the vaccination was easy and worth the trip.
"I want to be safe," she said. "And if I get it, I don't want to give it to someone else.
"I'd say to everybody 'go and get it done'."
The site will join existing mass vaccination centres across the state including those in Melbourne, Geelong, Sunshine, Heidelberg and Ballarat.
The clinic is open seven days a week with walk-ins and appointments available between 10am and noon and 1pm and 5pm. Entry is via 113-133 Mollison Street, with disabled access via McLaren Street.
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