NSW Health has reportedly reversed a decision which saw new mums turned away from one of its COVID-19 vaccination hubs if they took their babies with them.
It comes as a number of Sutherland Shire mums were among those refused entry to Qudos Bank Arena, including a Cronulla woman who said she was 'ostracised' and treated rudely by staff, who then suggested she travel to a hotspot to get a jab.
NSW Health has been urging new mums, breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women and anyone planning a pregnancy to come forward for vaccination, citing the added risk of serious health complications if they catch COVID-19.
But some new mothers have spoken out after they were refused entry to the NSW Health-run vaccination hubs in recent weeks.
One woman travelled from her Cronulla home to the vaccination hub Qudos Bank Arena on Wednesday, September 8, to have her second dose of Pfizer, and had her six-month-old son with her.
"My partner is a pilot who is based in Singapore and regularly flies in and out of Australia," she said.
"He is currently serving his 10th hotel quarantine in Melbourne.
"Upon arriving at the centre, I was approached by Army personnel and asked if I had a carer for my son.
"Confused, I asked 'Why?', and they told me I could not get the vaccine with my baby with me."
She said the staff member was very abrupt.
"After explaining that I had driven one hour to get here, they allowed me to speak to security," she said.
"Firstly, I was met by a man in a green vest who informed me that the reason I couldn't get vaccinated was that there were people from all over Sydney inside, and he didn't know where I had come from [or] if me and my maskless six-month-old baby had the virus.
"When I spoke of the ridiculous nature of that statement, and that anyone in any area of Australia was allowed to travel to be vaccinated, he then said that perhaps I could have a nurse come to me and vaccinate me outside the arena."
The woman said she agreed to wait outside, but the man never returned.
"Another woman in a green vest then approached me and asked if there was someone I could leave my baby with," she said.
"When again I stated 'no', and asked why I was able to have my first jab with my child present, she then asked where I got vaccinated, and said protocols were different at different locations.
"I argued that not once during the booking process was I made aware that if I were bringing a child I would not be able to be vaccinated.
"Her reasoning was that if I fainted, there was no one to care for my baby."
She said an operations manager then informed her that she could come back the next day without her baby.
"When I told her that I had travelled an hour to get there, and had now waited an hour, had a tired and hungry baby and still had an hour to travel home, and that coming back to Homebush was not an option, she suggested that she could get me an appointment closer to home at a local GP," she said.
The woman received a phone call from the hub about four hours later offering her an appointment in south-western Sydney.
"This is the best resolution I was offered, to travel into a hotspot and again risk the health of me and my baby, all to get a vaccine that I could have received there and then in Homebush four hours earlier," she said.
"I was ostracised, made to stand to the side, spoken to rudely and referred to as a 'single mother who had no one to look after her baby'.
"I did not want to leave my child with anyone but myself, and should be able to bring him with me as I receive my vaccination."
After many phone calls, her partner was eventually able to book her in for an appointment at Kareela late last week.
"They were very reassuring that I was able to bring my baby," she said.
Some media outlets have reported the health policy has been overturned, but the Leader has asked NSW Health to comment and is yet to receive a response.
NSW Health referred questions from the Leader to Western Sydney Local Health District, which operates the Qudos Bank Arena hub.
A spokesperson said: "Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre has administered over 230,000 vaccinations and will continue vaccinating eligible people".
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