Vaccine snub anger


By Jessica Micallef

Former Hume mayor and aged care resident Jack Ogilvie has slammed the federal government’s decision to leave Sunbury off the week one schedule for the COVID-19 vaccination program starting this week.

He has called for the government to review the roll-out and prioritise aged care homes that had a high number of cases and deaths.

“Most of the deaths in Victoria were in nursing homes in the metropolitan area. I can’t figure out why we weren’t first,” Mr Ogilvie said.

“Sunbury is a hotspot … is close to the Holiday Inn and we have so many people working at the airport. I am in shock.”

The federal government last week announced the location of aged care centres that would receive the vaccine first, some of them have recorded no cases of the virus.

The 3429 postcode, which takes in Sunbury and Wildwood, recorded 173 cases – 130 of those, including 20 deaths, were from the Japara Goonawarra Aged Care – according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr Ogilvie has been a resident at the aged care centre since May last year.

“I saw 20 of my friends die last year and that’s why I am so wild,” he said.

“We have been through it and we got out in the end but 20 friends didn’t.

“There are places in the regions that hardly had any COVID and they are getting the vaccination before us.”

Western suburbs Labor MP Brendan O’Connor questioned why suburbs which had some of the highest coronavirus infections in the country had not been included in the first location for the vaccine roll-out

In Parliament last week, he said he had hoped that the vaccine roll-out would be handled in a much better way than other health responses from the federal government.

Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy last week said selecting the facilities and scheduling was a “complex logistic exercise”.“We do not have community transmission, so there is no burning platform. It’s perfectly safe to take four of five weeks to vaccinate all of the aged care residents,” he said.

“The logistics teams have planned a very detailed logistics plan … to get distribution across the country, and a schedule where they can move from one site to another.”

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said vaccinations would be done in “clusters defined geographically to make sure that we have the most effective distribution”.