The speed of the vaccine rollout is crucially important for the health and economic prosperity of our region going forward, as well as our prospects of reopening our borders and businesses.
The announcement of the state-run vaccination hub in Mildura for the Pfizer vaccine is welcome news. I know that vaccine availability has been a key concern for many in our community over the past few weeks. I raised our community’s concerns with the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, who took our grievances directly to the Victorian Minister, Martin Foley.
This new hub will boost our capacity to deliver the vaccine to our community. It’s also very timely, given that eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine has been extended to people aged between 40-49.
This week, we also announced that up to 900 additional general practices will come on board to roll-out the AstraZeneca vaccine. Over 60 GP clinics in Mallee are distributing the vaccine, and I encourage others to sign on.
In terms of the roll-out, GPs have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting in our region, and I congratulate them on their hard work and dedication. Most GPs are already run off their feet, but they’ve put their hands up because they know how important this rollout is for our country.
Unfortunately, there are some in the community that believe being vaccinated is not necessary at the moment, given that the virus is virtually non-existent in Australia.
However, the recent outbreak of the virus and the lockdown demonstrate how quickly things can change, and show how our vaccination levels inform government responses to small outbreaks.
The risk of an outbreak in our community, while minimal, remains alive, and we need to be prepared.
So that we may return to normal life, I encourage everyone to be vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. Doing so will protect your family, your community, and your country. It will mean our borders will reopen, business will remain open, kids will stay in school, and senior Australians will be safer.
We aren’t out of the woods yet, but these vaccines are our way forward.