The Victorian government has announced three new pop-up clinics will be expanded across the state to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines for people experiencing homelessness.
CoHealth, a Victorian community health organisation, will be offering COVID-19 vaccines to people experiencing homelessness from three new mobile pop-up clinics. Currently CoHealth is offering vaccines in Melbourne CBD, Collingwood and Footscray.
Health minister Martin Foley said that the government funded clinics were being rolled out to give vulnerable Victorians access to protection from the COVID-19 virus which is currently spreading in the local community.
“We know that people without a secure home are highly vulnerable to COVID-19, so we are removing any barriers they may have in accessing the vaccine to ensure they can get vaccinated quickly,” Foley said.
The pop-up vaccine sites will each have two community health nurses, a social worker, and a worker who has experienced homelessness.
Pop-up clinics will be attached to homelessness services, drop-in centres, crisis accommodation facilities and rooming houses.
Nicole Bartholomeusz, CoHealth CEO, said that these clinics would ensure the COVID-19 vaccines were reaching some of those most in need.
“People experiencing homelessness are arguably our most disadvantaged community members – taking the vaccine to where people are in the community is a critical part of our pandemic response,” Bartholomeusz said.
The government said dozens more pop-up sites would be expanded into other parts of the CBD, Melbourne’s inner north, inner west. These clinics would be serviced by the C-19 network of five community health organisations – including CoHealth, IPC Health, DPV Health, EACH, and StarHealth.
The clinics will be capable of vaccinating up to 40 people each day and a total of 3,500 weekly doses have been allocated to the C-19 outreach team.
The state government confirmed that local public health units would prioritise additional doses for groups identified as being at-risk for contracting the COVID-19 virus.
The Victorian government has also announced that eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine has been expanded at state vaccination centres to include all healthcare workers, hotel quarantine and international border workers (and their household contacts aged 16 and over) and residential aged and disability care workers and residents.
People who want to check their eligibility against the latest information, or find their closest vaccination centre should check online.