Health | August 31, 2021

Cross-border chaos to continue while Victoria’s vaccinations lag behind

Cross-border communities are barrelling towards further barriers preventing a return to normal daily life, as vaccination rates continue to lag in Victoria.

Vaccination rates revealed at the weekend demonstrate the Andrews Labor Government’s slow progress to get jabs in arms in north-west Victoria.

Figures show just 30.2 per cent of people in West Wimmera Shire are fully vaccinated – one of the lowest rates in the state. In Hindmarsh Shire, 32.1 per cent of people are fully vaccinated, while 35.1 per cent of people in Glenelg Shire are fully vaccinated. In Mildura, just 30.6 per cent of people are fully vaccinated.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the Andrews Government was guilty of neglecting vulnerable border communities by failing to provide sufficient vaccination opportunities to allow those who want to be vaccinated to do so.

“Many locals have reported that the earliest they can get an appointment to be vaccinated is October, meaning those unable to be vaccinated could face being cut off from their jobs, school and essential services like supermarkets, their GP and petrol stations,” she said.

“This has reached a crisis point, with South Australia announcing that a COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for entry into the state from 24 September.

“While we have successfully lobbied for border community members to be exempt from this deadline, which has given these residents more time, there is little doubt this will be a delay only, not a permanent exemption.”

Ms Kealy said the federal government’s supply of vaccine to Victoria was not the barrier to supplying our rural communities.

“Victoria has one million unused vaccines across the state, and has received a higher amount of vaccines than NSW per capita. The state government has responsibility for distribution of vaccines across the state, and they simply have failed to provide sufficient vaccines to enable border community members to get vaccinated,” she said.

“For 18 months vulnerable cross-border community members have had to deal with a barrage of changing rules that have stopped them from going to work and school and going about their daily lives.

“Even Federal Labor MPs acknowledge that Daniel Andrews has ample supply of vaccine doses available in Victoria, but the Andrews Labor Government has no plan to deliver them.

“Gaps in the vaccination program need fixing. We need hope and a plan out of lockdown.

“We’re simply asking for our fair share and for a plan to vaccinate cross-border community members to allow us to live, work and get an education, as is the right of every Victorian.”

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