Vaccination campaign for residents of social housing tower intensifies amid outbreak
Victoria’s director of health, Brett Sutton, said authorities were working hard to prevent the state’s epidemic from once again reaching residents of high-rise public housing and pushing for vaccinations.
An epidemic in several high-rise public housing last year saw one of the darkest chapters of the state’s second wave, as the country’s toughest lockdown hit high-rise residents in a desperate attempt to prevent a wave of deaths.
The Victorian-era ombudsman later found a strict lockdown was warranted, but the decision to impose it on residents without warning violated their human rights.
A family of four in today’s local cases includes two children who attended North Melbourne Primary School, which was stranded as authorities scramble to test and trace in the school community.
When asked what was being done to prevent the outbreak from entering North Melbourne’s public housing towers, Professor Sutton said there had been continued engagement with testing and quarantine, but vaccinations were essential.
“We want to prioritize them from a vaccination perspective… as a higher risk group,” he said.
The community health group, cohealth, said it was using its existing strong relationships with the public housing tower community to offer support.
“The outbreak at North Melbourne Primary School has naturally created anxiety and worry for the people we work with in the public housing towers and the surrounding communities and we are on hand in the towers to providing support, information in the language and guiding people to testing and vaccination sites, ”a spokesperson for cosanté said.
“We have set up testing sites in the northern and western suburbs and administer the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to people at four sites in Laverton, West Melbourne, Collingwood and Reservoir.
“Last week alone, we vaccinated more than 1,200 people, including a large number of social housing residents.
“We also continue to deploy our Rapid Response Testing mobile testing team, a collaborative program supported by cohealth and five other community health teams. “