By Tricia Mifsud

The State Government hopes new pop-up vaccination clinics will boost low vaccination rates across the Mitchell Shire – the third lowest across regional Victorian local government areas.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that Kilmore, Wallan, Broadford and Seymour would be among 100 pop-up vaccination clinics to be established, as the government pushes to achieve one million doses in five weeks.

Late yesterday Kilmore District Health confirmed there was a positive COVID-19 case in Kilmore, with at least four tier two exposure sites across the shire expected to be announced. There were already five cases in Mitchell Shire but no exposure sites as cases were either isolating or had contracted COVID in Melbourne where they worked.

Kilmore District Health is likely to open a testing site at Kilmore Memorial Hall in coming days.

As of September 6, Mitchell Shire has the third lowest fully vaccinated rates for regional local government areas, only ahead of Mildura and West Wimmera.

A total of 36.6 per cent of Mitchell Shire residents aged 16 and above are double vaccinated, while Mildura sits on 34.5 per cent and West Wimmera 34.4 per cent.

The statistics are slightly better for first vaccinations, with 57.5 per cent of Mitchell Shire residents having rolled up their sleeves for their first vaccination – the 14th lowest across all Victorian local government areas.

Kilmore District Health chief executive David Naughton said his organisation’s vaccination clinic from this week would provide 1500 vaccinations weekly and was currently at capacity for bookings until October.

“We are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated; safe reliable vaccines are available,” Mr Naughton said.

“Our expert staff are ready and able to do it, but we need to also reinforce that we are an appointment-only clinic so people wishing to be vaccinated should ring in or go online to book.”

Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the community had shown great resilience and strength during the past 18 months and could now take the next step in being vaccinated.

“It is great to see so many people already roll up their sleeves, however let’s get those numbers even higher,” she said.

“If you are eligible to be vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to do so.

“Do it for yourself, do it for your family and do it for the community.”

Mitchell Shire Council chief executive Brett Luxford echoed the message by Cr Sanderson and added: “Vaccinations are part of regular services provide in our health units, however, this one can be accessed by your GP or online.”

To further assist regional Victorians to receive their vaccinations, Goulburn Valley Health has introduced Jabba the Bus – a dedicated COVID-19 vaccination bus that will service eight regional councils including Mitchell Shire.

The bus aims to circumvent problems of geographical distance and access to transport for regional residents, so that all the community has access to vaccinations.

Goulburn Valley Health will soon announce the schedule for Jabba the Bus. Visit the website gvhealth.org.au to find out more about the bus and other services available.

To make an appointment at Kilmore District Health, KDH, vaccination hub clinic, people can call them on 5734 2127 from Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Alternatively, to book at KDH or other vaccination clinics, call the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398.

To book at Seymour Health, call 1800 675 398.

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