Covid-19: Vaccine lags, cases grow

Ron Bright is vaccinated by Priceline Dandenong pharmacist Marina Baselyous. 250339_03 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Greater Dandenong and Casey continue to lag behind state Covid vaccination rates as active cases grow in the region.

The postcodes of Dandenong (14 active cases), Endeavour Hills (13) and Cranbourne (19) recorded new cases on 14 September.

There are 28 active cases in Greater Dandenong and 77 in Casey.

The region has been prioritised for pop-up Covid vaccine hubs at schools, religious and council sites, with concerns that it is a “sitting duck” due to its relatively low vaccine rates.

Dandenong High School is among the first sites for pop-up clinics, with further schools to come.

It is believed mosques in Doveton and Hallam will also host hubs.

Vaccines are also available by appointment at Sandown Racecourse as well as participating GP clinics and pharmacies.

In Greater Dandenong, 56.7 per cent of residents 15-and-over have had at least one Covid jab.

Just over 30 per cent of Greater Dandenong residents are fully vaccinated.

Casey had recorded 61.4 per cent single dose coverage and 34.4 per cent double dose.

Both council areas are well below the averages for Victoria (67.6 per cent for single dose and 41.4 per cent double dose) and Australia (68.5 per cent and 43.2 per cent).

Monash University public health researcher and Greater Dandenong councillor Rhonda Garad recently said the situation was critical as Melbourne approached the thresholds to lift Covid restrictions.

If Greater Dandenong didn’t bridge the gap in coming weeks, it would be stuck in lockdown for longer or high numbers of unvaccinated people would be exposed to the pandemic.

It would take an “extraordinary, whole of community effort to prevent Covid causing deaths and long-term illness in Dandenong”, Cr Garad said.

“We are a sitting duck for high infection rates with our low vaccination rates and vulnerable community.

“The next month will be crucial to getting rates up before the Covid cases increase significantly.”

On 15 September, Victoria reported 423 new cases and two Covid-related deaths.

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