Shepparton News

Closing in on vaccine target

GREATER SHEPPARTON REGION POISED TO REACH 70 PER CENT FIRST DOSE VACCINE TARGET THIS WEEK

- By Rosa Ritchie

The past two weeks have been the biggest of Goulburn Valley Health’s COVID-19 vaccine program, according to medical lead Helen Roberts, and Shepparton is on track to pass the 70 per cent first dose vaccinatio­n target by the end of this week.

‘‘We have seen a significan­t increase in the number of people from all parts of our community come forward to be vaccinated,’’ Dr Roberts said.

‘‘All of our VCE students have been invited to come forward now and we are definitely seeing the average age at the McIntosh Centre (vaccinatio­n hub) drop.’’

Greater Shepparton has come from behind in the race toward 70 per cent first dose vaccinatio­n in Victoria, with 64.4 per cent of people over the age of 15 now having had one jab, according to Federal Government Department of Health data published this week.

Between August 28 — one week into the Shepparton outbreak — and September 6, the number of first doses administer­ed jumped from 56.1 per cent to 64.4 per cent.

That’s a more than eight per cent increase in nine days.

Previously, that kind of growth took double the amount of time to achieve — first doses administer­ed rose from 48.2 per cent to 56.1 per cent over 19 days from August 9.

Dr Roberts said GV Health’s goal was to help protect the community from the virus and she urged people to present for vaccinatio­n.

‘‘My hospital colleagues will do everything they can to help you if you get sick, but what you can do to help you and those around you is get vaccinated,’’ she said.

‘‘We are now running towards the 70 and 80 per cent double dose targets; we still have a lot of work to do.

‘‘The ring of steel was too big a feature in Victoria last year; I’d rather a ring of vaccine.’’

In terms of second doses, 36.8 per cent of Greater Shepparton residents are fully vaccinated, increasing from 33 per cent on August 28.

This is lower than the fully vaccinated rate in other regional areas, where most communitie­s are above the 40 per cent mark.

Nearby Benalla has 72 per cent of its eligible population vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 51 per cent fully vaccinated.

In the Indigo Shire, an impressive 74 per cent have had one dose and more than 43 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Close to 68 per cent are partially vaccinated in Greater Bendigo and 46 per cent have had two doses.

In the Campaspe Shire, 69 per cent have had one dose and 42 per cent have had two.

And in Wangaratta, 72 per cent are partially vaccinated, while more than 45 per cent have had a second dose.

Last week, the Victorian Government reduced the recommende­d dose interval for AstraZenec­a — down from 12 weeks to six.

Vaccine appointmen­ts at GV Health’s vaccinatio­n hub become available every day and there are plenty of general practice clinics and pharmacies offering the jab across the region.

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