Shepparton News

VAX TO THE MAX

MOVE OVER JABBA THE BUS, MAXINE VACCINE IS READY TO ROLL OUT VACCINATIO­NS TO LOCALITY NEAR YOU

- By MAX STAINKAMPH

Jabba the Bus has been joined by a new COVID-19 vaccinatio­n bus after GV Health unveiled Maxine Vaccine at the Shepparton Showground­s yesterday.

The new mobile vaccinatio­n hub’s name was chosen by popular vote, put to the public.

Maxine Vaccine will help GV Health reach more people across the region and target postcodes with lower vaccinatio­n rates, with the Tuesday-to-Saturday schedule to be published online ahead of time.

Maxine Vaccine will hit the road on Wednesday, October 27. It is an identical replica of Jabba, with three vaccinatio­n pods in a COVID-safe environmen­t, and is disability­friendly.

More than 1000 people have been vaccinated on Jabba the Bus since it launched in September, but GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said “we know there are still people in the community who need to be vaccinated, so both buses will help us achieve this”.

He thanked Dyson Group, which helped supply both buses.

Dyson Group regional operations manager Roy Dyson said he was “extremely pleased” to help the vaccinatio­n effort.

“We are extremely pleased to see how successful the implementa­tion of the first vaccinatio­n bus has been and are very grateful to GV Health for the opportunit­y to provide a second bus,” Mr Dyson said.

Nearly 4000 people in Shepparton have had their first vaccine dose since GV Health launched its ‘‘get the jab done’’ campaign to encourage the remaining 5000 people who were yet to receive their first dose to come forward.

There are just 1079 people in the city yet to have their first dose, and 233 active cases in Greater Shepparton.

There were 24 new cases of coronaviru­s in the city announced yesterday, with 14 linked, while 11 people are in hospital. Two people are on ventilator­s.

Victoria recorded 2232 new cases yesterday and 12 deaths.

The two vaccinatio­n buses will deliver COVID-19 vaccinatio­ns to the GV Health Local Public Health Unit catchment, which includes the local government areas of Greater Shepparton, Moira Shire, Benalla Shire, Strathbogi­e Shire, Mitchell Shire, Mansfield Shire, Murrindind­i Shire and some parts of Campaspe Shire near Kyabram.

GV Health COVID-19 vaccinatio­n program medical lead Helen Roberts said Maxine Vaccine would likely target the southern end of the LPHU to begin with.

“The closer we go to Melbourne the lower our vaccine rates tend to be, they’re still very high but they’re slightly lower than when we go more northerly,” Dr Roberts said.

She said those aged 18 to 39 – particular­ly men – were less likely to be vaccinated.

“Men are less vaccinated than women, and that’s true in Shepparton and in Victoria and all across Australia,” Dr Roberts said.

“We have good coverage generally and the most rapidly growing segment is between 12- and 15-year-olds but it’s the people between 18 and 39 we’re looking to target with this.”

Ethnic Council of Shepparton manager Chris Hazelman said he was “delighted” the council would help provide bilingual workers to help operate the bus.

He also congratula­ted the community broadly, but also different ethnic groups for coming forward to get the jab.

“A lot of people thought there would be a lot of vaccine hesitancy among multicultu­ral communitie­s and I think we’ve proven that wrong,” he said.

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said she was excited to see the bus launch and continue the success of Jabba the Bus.

“It’s wonderful to see we can reach out to people who are having difficulti­es, and the success has been extraordin­ary,” Cr O’Keeffe

 ?? Pictures: RODNEY BRAITHWAIT­E ?? Launched: GV Health COVID-19 vaccinatio­n program medical lead Helen Roberts cuts the ribbon to officially open Maxine Vaccine.
Ready to roll: GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp in front of Maxine Vaccine.
All aboard: GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp, City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe and GV Health COVID-19 vaccinatio­n program medical lead Helen Roberts aboard Maxine Vaccine.
Pictures: RODNEY BRAITHWAIT­E Launched: GV Health COVID-19 vaccinatio­n program medical lead Helen Roberts cuts the ribbon to officially open Maxine Vaccine. Ready to roll: GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp in front of Maxine Vaccine. All aboard: GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp, City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe and GV Health COVID-19 vaccinatio­n program medical lead Helen Roberts aboard Maxine Vaccine.

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