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December 2021

Jason Phieler holding a 'Get tested' sign jpeg
Jason Phieler

International experience on COVID fight front

Great Ocean Road Health nurse unit manager Jason Phieler has helped fight the COVID-19 virus both here and overseas, working with the Australian Medical Assistance Team in Fiji and Papua New Guinea during the global pandemic.

And as a member of the federal and state-based rapid-response teams for disasters, he has seen more than his fair share of suffering.

‘The anxiety behind it is terrible - it is truly heartbreaking.’

Mr Phieler has worked at Great Ocean Road Health Lorne campus since 2002 and took personal leave to assist at the Port Moresby General Hospital for four weeks during the second wave of the pandemic earlier this year.

He said his role was to integrate into the local emergency department to provide training, set up screening and swabbing stations and help with COVID outbreak procedures and policies.

The experience gained while helping those in crisis was invaluable and he has been able to transfer this knowledge back to Great Ocean Road Health to assist with the COVID response plans.

Mr Phieler said his time in Papua New Guinea highlighted the need for Australia to continue to help its neighbours.

And he is proud of his team in Lorne and the residents of Lorne, Aireys Inlet, Deans Marsh and Fairhaven who, by the end of October, had a second dose vaccination rate of 95 per cent.

‘There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel,’ Mr Phieler said.

‘It is just going to take some time and with the booster shots now rolling out in the community we can start to get back to normal.’