Call for 24-hour vaccination hub

Intaj Khan with his billboard. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 244111_04

By Alesha Capone

Former Wyndham councillor Intaj Khan is calling for a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week COVID-19 vaccination clinic to be established in the municipality.

Mr Khan has embarked on a campaign to encourage more residents of the west to get vaccinated, erecting billboards to spread the message.

The billboards read: “Stop waiting around! Let’s get the west vaccinated” and “Where is our vaccination hub in Wyndham?”

One of the billboards has been erected near Sayers and Leakes roads in Laverton, with another planned for a Sunshine location.

Mr Khan said that although a vaccination hub operated by Western Health opened at Wyndham council’s Werribee civic centre earlier this month, it was only open Wednesdays to Fridays from 8.30am to 4pm.

Mr Khan said that due to Wyndham’s large population, a continuously-running vaccination hub was needed in the municipality.

“It should be open be open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, as many people work,” he said.

“I definitely think business leaders and community leaders should encourage people to get vaccinated too.”

Mr Khan said the billboards were not part of a political campaign for him to stand for local or state government in the future.

“I have not thought about it, that is not something which is important at the moment,” he said.

Werribee GP Dr Joe Garra said that opening a 24-hour vaccine hub in Wyndham was a good idea in theory, but would present a logistical challenge in reality, including finding staff.

He said there was already a shortage of nurses in hospitals, with many working at vaccination sites.

Dr Garra said government legislation also required large spaces for vaccination hubs, along with carparking spaces and medical freezers to store Pfizer vaccines.

“This is why myself and other GPs have used the Encore Events centre to do mass vaccinations twice, and will again in the future,” he said.

A Wyndham council spokesperson said the opening hours of the civic centre vaccination hub “reflect supply of the COVID-19 vaccinations”.

“We continue to monitor community uptake, bookings and the availability of the vaccine,” the spokesperson said.

“As eligibility is expanded, and Pfizer becomes more readily available, we plan to extend hours of operation as required.”