A retired doctor has spent his 85th birthday delivering COVID vaccinations to Riverina patients.
Much-loved doctor Bob Byrne has always been a favourite among Leeton patients, and it was with them he chose to spend his birthday last week.
Instead of celebrations at home, Dr Byrne - who now lives in Wagga - headed back to where he worked for many years at the Murrumbidgee Medical and Primary Care Centre.
He spent his 85th birthday helping to deliver COVID-19 vaccination and booster shots to Leeton shire residents, something he has been doing since the vaccine started to roll out last year.
Dr Byrne moved to Leeton in 2003, building up his practice and his patient roster to become one of the most-requested doctors in the shire.
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He retired in 2014, receiving an OAM in that same year. Dr Byrne said he didn't officially finish working until 2016.
However, since then he has remained up to speed and involved in the medical world.
Last year he received communication calling for retired doctors to assist with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and he decided to do so.
"I wanted to play my part in the pandemic ... COVID is a terrible disease and by being vaccinated you're helping your community," Dr Byrne said.
"It was nice to be able to spend my birthday back in Leeton.
"We had a morning tea. It was lovely.
"I didn't expect any fanfare."
Graduating from medical school in 1963, Dr Byrne worked in a city hospital before moving to Hobart for two years.
Soon after, he moved his young family to Griffith to take up a position as general practitioner at the base hospital. He settled in Coleambally in 1970.
He stayed there for 33 years before heading to Leeton.
"Murrumbidgee Medical in Leeton was the practice I opened in 2003, so it's been nice to come back again," Dr Byrne said.
"When it comes to the vaccine in Leeton, on the whole yes, I am pleased to see a good uptake of people being vaccinated."
Dr Byrne said he had been enjoying spending time back in Leeton and seeing many familiar faces.
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