By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Large pockets of the Dandenong and Doveton postcodes are unvaccinated against Covid but the tide may be turning, new official statistics show.
The South East has been labelled an “area of concern” due to low vax rates and rising infections.
As of 7 October, there were 870 active cases (up 100 in 24 hours) in Casey and 483 (up 58) in Greater Dandenong.
As Greater Dandenong neared 80 per cent single vaccination, the Dandenong 3175 postcode had 70-75 per cent of eligible residents with at least a single dose as of 5 October.
This figure surged significantly from 55-60 per cent a week before.
At the same time, only 30-35 per cent were fully vaxxed, up from 25-30 per cent.
As of 7 October, there were a steeply rising 246 active cases in the Dandenong postcode, including 42 new cases.
The postcode includes nearly 49,000 eligible residents in suburbs Dandenong, Dandenong North, Dandenong South and Bangholme.
It comprises more than a third of the 138,053 eligible residents in City of Greater Dandenong.
Similarly lower than average vax rates (70-75 per cent single dose, 30-35 per cent single dose) were recorded in the 3177 postcode covering Doveton and Eumemmerring.
The statistics explain health authorities’ efforts to boost vax rates in recent weeks, including a walk-up clinic in Palm Plaza in Dandenong and pop-up clinics at Dandenong High School, Doveton and Hallam.
Both postcodes lagged well behind the vax rates in Greater Dandenong’s council area of 78.7 per cent single dose and 40.7 per cent double dose at 4 October.
Casey’s rates were 83.4 per cent single dose and 46.5 per cent fully vaxxed.
According to state data, Hallam postcode had gained ground with 75-80 per cent single doses (up from 60-65 per cent a week earlier) and 35-40 per cent double doses (up from 30-35 per cent).
Keysborough, Noble Park and Noble Park North also surged to 80-85 per cent single doses and 40-45 per cent fully vaxxed, and Endeavour Hills 75-80 per cent single doses and 40-45 per cent fully vaccinated.
Out in front are Springvale (85-90 per cent and 40-45 per cent) and the 3172 postcode including Dingley Village and Springvale South (85-90 per cent and 50-55 per cent).
A Moderna vaccine blitz is underway at Sandown Racecourse and Palm Plaza until Sunday 10 October. Appointments aren’t necessary.
In a statement, Monash Health stated Moderna offered “high protection” to new Covid-19 variants, including Delta.
“The Moderna vaccine is safe in pregnancy and in children from 12 years of age.
“The Moderna vaccine has been successfully rolled out in many countries across the world including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, and Singapore.”
Monash Health chief executive Andrew Stripp said there was “no time to hesitate”.
“Covid-19 cases are increasing across Melbourne’s South East.
“Get vaccinated now to protect yourself, your family and the community.”
Mr Stripp said Moderna was “safe and highly effective in protecting people against Covid-19”.
“The sooner we get vaccinated, the sooner we return to the life we all know and cherish.”
Vaccine appointments can also be made at Sandown Racecourse and participating GP clinics and pharmacists.
Bookings: http://portal.cvms.vic.gov.au/ or FindAPharmacy.Com.Au or https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/about-immunisation/where-can-i-get-immunised