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Barwon Health / Barwon South West Public Health Unit

(03) 4215 4000

Vaccination hub evokes fond memories for Joe

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

When Giuseppe “Joe” Puglia retired as a truck driver at Norlane’s Ford Motor factory in 2013, he never expected to return to the site for a vaccination thirteen years later.

Joe, who also has Alzheimer’s disease, recently rolled up his sleeves to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The 80-year-old was also able to experience the previous Ford site’s transformation into the community vaccination hub that will service the majority of the Geelong and Surf Coast region.

Managed and operated by Barwon Health, Geelong’s community vaccination hub has the capacity to provide vaccines to more than 10,000 people a week.

Joe, born in Sicily in 1940, was well-known during his time at Ford and his daughter Josie recalls his celebrity status among drivers for his impeccable driving record.

“Dad still likes to say that he was the best truck driver at Ford, and was awarded with a certificate of excellence before he left,” she said.

“He even got the job to drive open up the Ring Road with the B-Double along with the Victorian Premier Joan Kirner as his special guest."

Josie said Joe’s family was relieved knowing he was going to be protected from COVID-19 after today’s vaccination.

“Initially, we were nervous, but we spoke to his medical team who assured us that it will be the best thing for him. It will also ensure our family can be together after a very difficult year for us.

“Dad found last year very challenging. He didn’t quite understand the concept of not visiting family and friends and as to why he wasn’t allowed to leave the house. He couldn’t comprehend the isolation, but with the help of his medical team, we have been able to keep him happy and comfortable.”