The logistics behind SA's mass vaccination hubs

Friday, 14 May, 2021

The logistics behind SA's mass vaccination hubs

To scale up South Australia’s vaccination rollout, Portable Partitions Australia (PPA) was approached by SA Health to urgently provide 78 vaccinations booths across the northern and central mass vaccination sites. The Adelaide Showground (Wayville) now has 36 booths and the Playford Civic Centre (Elizabeth) has 42 booths.

These hubs will play a critical role in ensuring a safe and effective vaccine rollout across the state. Both sites have the capacity to vaccinate up to 3000 people a week, while maintaining social distancing.

“This was a very well-planned layout and design by SA Health, but the unavoidable urgency meant the deadline was very tight,” PPA owner Tony Haydar said. “Confirmation to completion was just over a week, which included manufacturing, transport, delivery and onsite set-up of 78 vaccination booths with curtain rails, plus observation, resuscitation and acute monitoring areas. I’m sure all the other suppliers were under the same pressure.”

Spotless Group Holdings oversaw the logistics of the operation at both mass vaccination sites. Starting from an empty building, they had to coordinate the vaccination pods, furniture and equipment deliveries, electrical services and amenity spaces in approximately seven working days. All the booths and various areas needed power, desks, computers, seating, medical equipment, signage and curtains, as well as bollards to handle high-volume traffic.

“There are obviously a lot of logistics behind setting up these mass vaccination hubs so quickly, to ensure they meet SA Health’s requirements on a large scale. They need to have the ability to move people through quickly and safely,” Agency Operations Manager Robert Trimboli said. “The scope of work was also constantly evolving and I am incredibly impressed how everyone worked so collaboratively together to pull this off, including SA Health and all the contractors. Portable Partitions Australia also had the interstate hurdle to overcome, but their communication and commitment to service was impeccable. Nothing was too hard.”

Haydar added, “We all worked around the clock and I am glad we could deliver an exceptional product in such a short period of time. While it certainly put the heat on, it was good to pressure test the agility of our team.”

The vaccination booths are made up of vinyl-finished panels with an easily wipeable surface for disinfecting. A big benefit to the logistical operation was that the booths did not require a huge amount of labour onsite.

“We assembled all of the booths onsite in a day. The reason we were able to do this is because the partitions are manufactured offsite in a factory, making assembly incredible easy once they are delivered,” Haydar explained.

PPA has responded to various business requirements throughout the pandemic, including the production and distribution of COVID-safe perspex screens to customer-facing businesses. The company is hoping to use its expertise from the South Australian rollout to assist with similar vaccination hubs around the country.

“It’s amazing to be part of such a large-scale initiative to protect the community’s health. Now that we have this experience under our belt, we are keen and ready to help other states and regional areas in their response as well,” Haydar concluded.

Image caption: The Playford Civic Centre vaccination hub in Elizabeth, SA.

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