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Calls for more Western Sydney vaccine hubs as COVID cases soar

Sydney-based MP and Labor spokeswoman for Indigenous Australians, Wiradjuri woman Linda Burney, agreed.

“There need to be more vaccination clinics. What I would also suggest are pop-up vaccination clinics so they can be localised – it’s not a hard thing to do, the resources are there, the capacity is there, there has to be the will,” she said.

Blacktown mayor Tony Bleasdale and western Sydney-based federal Labor MPs Ed Husic and Michelle Rowland wrote to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard last month offering up several unused community facilities as options for a vaccination hub for the COVID-hit local government area.

“The Greater Sydney lockdown means these community assets will remain unused for the foreseeable future,” the July 27 letter seen by the Herald said. “Existing mass vaccination hubs are, in the views of many of our constituents, located too remotely to allow for safe vaccination, particularly in circumstances where restricting the mobility of people is key to reducing community transmissions.”

The trio said in the letter there was “understandable hesitancy” among residents about travelling to Sydney Olympic Park for a COVID-19 vaccination and asked the government to urgently consider rolling out mass vaccination hubs in Blacktown.

A July 29 response from NSW Health said the trio’s suggestion had been passed onto the relevant team for consideration.

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Mr Bleasdale said there were about 10,000 Aboriginal people living in the Blacktown area and there had been a lack of support from the government in getting the more vulnerable and culturally diverse residents vaccinated.

“In Cumberland there are five walk-up vaccination centres. In Blacktown City we don’t have any.”

Government data shows that, as of August 12, 49 per cent of people in the Blacktown area were partially vaccinated.

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