‘Jabba the Bus’ to take regional vaccination drive onto the road
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Victoria’s first mobile vaccine hub will hit the road within days, delivering vaccinations to isolated residents of regional Victoria while thousands of people prepare to leave home quarantine in Shepparton.
The mobile service, which has been nicknamed Jabba the Bus, will administer doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
Mobile vaccine service “Jabba the Bus” will begin administering doses within days.
On Friday three new cases were reported in Shepparton, taking the total number of active cases in the regional city to 127.
Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said the vaccine bus would ensure everyone had access to immunisation regardless of where they lived.
“We’ll be aiming to go to those people who can’t get to vaccination centres,” he said.
The mobile vaccination hub will cover the City of Greater Shepparton as well as the Moira, Benalla, Strathbogie, Mitchell, Mansfield, Murrindindi and Campaspe shires.
Inside the mobile vaccine bus that will be based in Shepparton.
It will have three vaccination pods and be suitable for people who have disabilities.
Mr Sharp said 26 per cent of people in the Shepparton area had received two doses of a vaccine and 45 per cent had received a single dose. “And that’s not where we would obviously like it to be.”
The Victorian Health Department confirmed the bus was the first mobile vaccination service in the state, although some health services have administered outreach vaccine programs in workplaces.
Earlier this week Premier Daniel Andrews said that if necessary he was prepared to “put a van at the end of your street and go door to door” asking people to get vaccinated.
Queues were lengthy for day-13 testing in Shepparton on Thursday. Credit:Eddie Jim
More than 5700 people were tested in Shepparton on Thursday as part of day-13 tests. They have been isolating because of a major outbreak in the city. By noon on Friday 2000 test results had been processed with no further positive results.
About 20,000 people were required to isolate in Shepparton at one point in the outbreak, including more than 500 staff from Goulburn Valley Health.
Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander, Jeroen Weimar, said he expected the number of primary close contacts in Shepparton to fall considerably, which would allow many people to return to work.
Mr Weimar said positive cases would continue to emerge for weeks but insisted the cluster could be extinguished. “Every time we’ve seen those defined clusters we’ve managed to roll them up and extinguish them pretty effectively,” he said.
Sarmed Yassin was released from home quarantine this week in Shepparton. Credit:Eddie Jim
Shepparton resident Sarmed Yassin was among those who took a day-13 test this week after isolating at home with his wife and daughter. On Thursday night he received a message from the Health Department saying he was released from home quarantine.
“It just means I can take my daughter out to go to the park and finally go for a walk,” he said. “I can do my own shopping, which is something I’ve really wanted to do.”
Mr Yassin continued to work as a multicultural support worker throughout his lockdown, making sure residents in quarantine had access to culturally appropriate food and accurate public health information in their first language.
He said many people felt forgotten by the government early in the outbreak.
“The community had to pick itself up and do things for itself. It did a good job at that.”
Independent MP for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said large queues had formed from the morning on Thursday for day-13 tests.
“It will be so good for the town to see a lot of people moving back into their workplaces,” she said.
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