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’Sufficient doses’ for MCG vaccine hub blitz

Seal Media Group, Australia

Sport, community and health leaders are backing the Sunday Herald Sun campaign, which would see the empty MCG precinct host vaccinations on the public holiday Friday and possibly the Saturday.Scott Morrison said he was aware of the proposal to set up a vaccination hub at the MCG, and that there were “sufficient doses” to support such an initiative.“If that’s what the Victorian government would seek to do, then obviously we’d work with them on that,” the Prime Minister said.Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said a properly-managed hub could shift the loss of the Grand Final into something constructive.“It could be a hub of focus on the very thing that most Melburnians would love to have back – the ability to go to events,” Prof Bennett said.“You could have it as a theme day with people wearing footy colours and themed giveaways.”A spokeswoman for the Andrews Government said the focus of its state-run program was on the north and west of Melbourne where outbreaks were worst but it would back a federally-run hub.“If the commonwealth is willing and able to run and supply an AZ vaccine site at the MCG we would encourage them to do so and would very actively help promote the opportunity to Victorians,” she said.Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Saturday night said the government was open to ideas to bolster vaccine rates as it worked with the state to increase supplies.“This is an important positive proposal and we would be delighted to work with the Victorian Government to assist if they were to support it,” he said.MCG petition— Can’t see the petition above? Click here to sign.Participants would be encouraged to wear club colours and scoreboards could keep track of which team has the most supporters getting the jab, with prizes for some of those who visit the hallowed stadium for their shot.With supplies of AstraZeneca still available and doses of other vaccines hopefully coming online, one business leader said the aim could be to get the same number of people jabbed across the state on the public holiday as the MCG hosts on a typical grand final day.This would smash the current daily record vaccine rate in Victoria of about 87,000.Melbourne School of Population and Global Health head, Professor Nancy Baxter, said Canada had held a successful equivalent at a Toronto basketball stadium called “our winning shot” that awarded double passes for future games to 50 people rolling up their sleeves.“It gives meaning to why you’re getting vaccinated,” Prof Baxter said.National – 2021 – Covid Vaccination StatsThe AFL has backed the concept, with chief executive Gillon McLachlan saying “if the Victorian health authorities thought it was safe and appropriate to use the MCG as a vaccination centre either before the grand final or at any stage, we would throw our support behind it”.Collingwood AFLW star Chloe Molloy urged Victorians to get behind the “jab at the ‘G” to help free the state of lockdowns quicker.“We should use more resources in Melbourne and have more places people can go to speed up the process of getting back to normal life,’’ she said.“If we can’t use the ‘G for what it’s for in a sporting sense then let’s do this, it’s an incredible initiative.”Former Pies president Eddie McGuire said the ‘G had been used as a fort during World War II and said it would be a great place for people to get the jab.NED-4292-Percentage-of-eligible-population-fully-vaccinated-by-state“If we can turn it into a place where people feel comfortable and even give a bit of joy to people who feel a bit unsure, then why not?” he said.“Anything that can then help us fill the MCG – hopefully for the Boxing Day test – is a good idea.”Vaccination rates in Victoria have started to lift in recent days, with an average of about 85,000 doses a day administered since Wednesday.But the latest federal data available on September shows Melbourne City Council area has the lowest vaccination rate of any local government precinct – just 47.3 per cent of people have had their first jab.Statewide, about 65 per cent of people have had one dose, while about 40 per cent are fully vaccinated.At this rate, Victoria is more than three weeks behind NSW in the race to double dose 70 per cent of the eligible population to get restrictions eased – a target expected to be met north of the Murray by mid-October.Vax at MCGMelbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said vaccination was the “key to unlocking our city”.“What better place to achieve that goal than the iconic MCG,” she said.“This pandemic is the biggest challenge we have faced as a city, and uniting at the MCG once more could give us the final all-important push to reach that 80 per cent target.”Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the jab at the ‘G was a “great campaign”.“We need to be doing everything we can to get vaccination rates up as part of a plan to get out of lockdown,” he said.“It’s hard enough to bear losing the grand final to Perth, so let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again.”Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said the event could be part of a broader push on the public holiday. “The State could add a number of other sites, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates, to encourage every Victorian to get the jab on the same day,” he said.“The goal could be to vaccinate the equivalent of an MCG crowd on grand final Eve.”

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