Tuesday , September 28 2021
Home / National News / GPs warn of case explosion as outbreaks hit least vaccinated suburbs

GPs warn of case explosion as outbreaks hit least vaccinated suburbs

The veteran GP said efforts were also being thwarted by high levels of vaccine hesitancy, including among migrant communities and the elderly, who were shunning the vaccine amid concerns about side effects.

Dr Hodgson said there were still entire families resisting the vaccine in Hume.

“We are all really fearful that there will be an explosion of cases in the northern suburbs in the coming weeks,” Dr Hodgson said.

“There remains a huge concern around conspiracy theories that are circulating by word of mouth.”

Dr Hodgson, whose clinic is running at capacity administering 100 doses a day, said it had been further challenged by a nursing shortage.

“Even if we wanted to expand our clinic we would have to be able to find the nurses to staff it and that has proven difficult,” he said.

GP John Hodgson runs a respiratory and vaccine clinic in Coolaroo

GP John Hodgson runs a respiratory and vaccine clinic in CoolarooCredit:Joe Armao

Northern suburbs GP Dominic Barbaro said he and his colleagues are “all bracing for a huge surge of cases”.

Dr Barbaro has been counselling an increasing number of elderly patients who he said had been advised by their adult children not to get the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns over an extremely rare side effect linked to just one local death in people aged over 60.

Dr Barbaro, who is in his 70s and has been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca, said he had been telling patients that “Pfizer might be available at the end of the year, but it’s not much good if you’re dead before then”.

“I tell them you’ve got to protect yourself, your children, your grandchildren and your community,” he said.

Dr Barbaro said he was also using his role as president of the Dante Alighieri Society to increase vaccination uptake among European migrants by advertising public health messages in Italian newspapers and running information sessions through Italian welfare agency CO.AS.IT for migrants.

Dr Hodgson said the government must consider innovative approaches to getting vaccines out to families in the northern suburbs, including employing mobile medical teams who could doorknock homes and try to encourage residents to be vaccinated.

Such models have been used in Israel, where healthcare workers armed with vaccines have visited neighbourhoods with low vaccination rates.

“We have to be taking the vaccine to them rather than waiting for them to come to the vaccine,” Dr Hodgson said.

Last week, Mr Andrews said he was prepared to “put a van at the end of your street and go door to door” asking people to get vaccinated if necessary.

A mobile vaccination bus has also begun operating in the Goulburn Valley, bringing Pfizer and AstraZeneca doses to people in remote areas.

The analysis also showed promising signs that some coronavirus hotspots were reporting increasing vaccination rates.

Wyndham has among the highest active case rates in the state, but last week it had the biggest proportional boost in first dose numbers and 8.8 per cent of the area’s eligible population received their first dose in the last week.

Meanwhile, in Greater Shepparton, which weathered a major outbreak in recent weeks, 8.3 per cent of the eligible population also got their first dose last week.

A woman waits to get her COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination centre at the mosque on Blenheim Road, Newport.

A woman waits to get her COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination centre at the mosque on Blenheim Road, Newport.Credit:Jason South

Queenscliffe has Victoria’s highest vaccination rate, with 91.8 per cent of residents already receiving a first dose, followed by the Surf Coast, with 79.6 per cent.

Anglesea resident Julie Martin was among those who rushed out to get her Pfizer shots as soon as she became eligible.

Loading

Ms Martin, who received her vaccine doses at the former Ford building in Geelong, said many people in her social and family networks were also immunised.

Only three Melbourne councils – Bayside, Nillumbik and Mornington Peninsula – have reached the 70 per cent first dose target that Mr Andrews set last week to begin easing rules, including increased travel limits and exercise time and allowing personal training and private real estate inspections.

Mr Andrews join West Australian Premier Mark McGowan in calling for greater transparency around vaccine distribution, arguing there had been “secret allocations” to NSW.

He urged federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to explain what he described as a “secret” and “under the table” arrangement.

Loading

Mr Hunt dismissed his criticism, saying Victoria had received a higher per capita vaccine allocation than NSW and that “some people are looking for a fight”.

A Victorian Health Department spokeswoman said the government was “doing everything it can to ensure everyone who wants a vaccination can get one.”

She said the department was working closely with community and faith leaders to building trust in COVID-19 vaccines.

“By getting timely, accurate information to where it’s needed most, community leaders are reducing vaccine hesitancy and driving vaccination uptake,” she said.

Victorian government spokeswoman said the state led the country with its vaccination rollout, with data showing per capita Victoria’s state-run clinics were still outperforming New South Wales by about 20 per cent.

“Our recent booking numbers show we’re getting vaccine doses in arms as soon as they arrive and that hesitancy is not a problem in Victoria – they show quite simply, what we need is more supply,” she said.

Stay across the most crucial developments related to the pandemic with the Coronavirus Update. Sign up for the weekly newsletter.

About admin

Check Also

New COVID-19 case detected in Brisbane, exposure sites listed

A number of exposure sites have been listed in Brisbane after a new, confirmed case …