By Laura Michell
Essential workers in Victoria’s fresh produce supply chain are doing their part, rolling up their sleeves and getting the COVID jab on the job.
A vaccination hub opened at the Melbourne Wholesale Market in Epping on Monday. It will operate for the next three weeks.
Melbourne Market Authority said over 10,000 people use the Melbourne Market as a base for buying fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers in the early hours of the morning. Every one of the 10,000 Melbourne Market access cardholders will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Melbourne Market Vaccination Hub.
Melbourne Market Authority chief executive Mark Maskiell has been happy with the turnout so far.
“We’re pleased to see so many market users keen to roll up their sleeves. Almost all fresh produce found at local greengrocers, independent supermarkets, restaurants and cafes in Victoria is sold here at the Melbourne Market. So having as many of our market community vaccinated as possible goes a long way in helping to protect Victoria’s fresh produce supply chain,” he said.
Austin Health, who is leading the roll-out of the vaccination program across Melbourne’s north-east, is running the vaccination bub at the Market in partnership with the Department of Health.
“Austin Health has been fantastic; they have been able to accommodate our request to run the clinic overnight and into the early hours of the morning. We appreciate they’ve gone the extra mile to cater to the unique needs of the market community.” Mr Maskiell said.
Market wholesaler Michael Barker, chief executive of Barkers Fresh Produce, was one of the first in line with his staff members when doors to the vaccination hub opened at 3 am on Monday.
“Having a vaccination hub set up at the market has made it so much easier for myself and my staff to get vaccinated,” he said.
“We walked up, got the jab and 15 minutes later, we were back at work. Having the clinic on site is a great initiative.”