Vaccine numbers defended

Michaela Meade and Goya Dmytryshchak

The Department of Health says COVID-19 vaccination numbers in Melbourne’s west are “strong”, even as a prominent GP says the slow roll-out is an issue for some of the hardest hit areas.

A department spokesperson said, “Melbourne’s western suburbs have strong vaccination coverage through Victoria’s state commissioned vaccination sites and community vaccination centres in Broadmeadows and Deer Park.

“Our focus remains on delivering the vaccinations supplied to us by the Commonwealth to the groups in 1A and 1B of the national roll-out strategy and further expansion of the vaccine program is dependent on supply from the Commonwealth.”

Chief executive of DPV Health Don Tidbury said the organisation is committed to providing a high quality service for COVID-19 vaccination, “especially where they are needed most”.

“We are focused on immunising high priority community groups and individuals across outer Northern Melbourne,” he said.

The organisation is running a vaccination centre opened in Broadmeadows in early April, as well as one in Mill Park.

“DPV Health is honoured to support our community through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Tidbury said.

“We are thrilled to commence vaccination services across Melbourne’s north.

“We expect [vaccination] numbers to further ramp up in the coming weeks.”

Australian Medical Association state council chair and GP Mukesh Haikerwal said the lack of vaccinations for residents and staff in some aged care facilities is “atrocious”.

“There’s no residents that can’t have the vaccine from AstraZeneca because it’s safe in older people, so that’s what they should be provided with,” he said.

According to the department, 137,000 doses have been administered to Victoria’s priority groups as of last Wednesday.