Grievance Debate - COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout

Tuesday May 04, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (17:03): I rise to talk about a vaccination hub as a priority for Mount Gambier. and first I want to thank Dr Chris Moy for the very informative session he presented yesterday to the Independents, and also the Premier's response today indicating that a new hub will be established in mid-May and it will be vaccinating up to 1,000 of my local residents per week in the electorate of Mount Gambier.

I guess this stemmed from conversations I have had with many members of my community who are getting frustrated and a little bit concerned that they have not been able to book in for a COVID-19 vaccination, pretty much because the clinics are only receiving 50 doses per week. What has happened in the past is that that shipment or supply of 50 doses sometimes has not arrived, so a clinic has a complete booking list for the following week with no vaccines actually in their premises.

This has led to great uncertainty and also wasted time and concern from the clinics in terms of having to ring people and say, 'The vaccines aren't here. Your appointment is now pushed out.' Of course, if they have booked people for the week after, they cannot push them into that week, so they are leapfrogging them over other people who have booked in. The clinic I spoke to is now only booking one week ahead, so a fortnight ahead, and they only do that once they have the vaccines on their premises.

We have a large number of people who are over 50 years of age—I am heading there myself pretty quickly—and their concern is that they ring in two weeks' time for the clinic and the bookings are already taken up, so they cannot actually get the vaccine that they need to keep them safe, as a high-risk group. To hear today that the Premier is taking action and establishing this hub in Helen Street, vaccinating up to a thousand people per week on top of what the clinic is already doing, is certainly welcome news. I always try to give credit where credit is due.

That will be greatly received in my electorate, because people are coming to me and saying that their doctors were actually giving the advice, 'We don't know when we can book you in. However, if you go to Adelaide you will be able to be seen in the next couple of days and receive your vaccination.' Of course, that is not satisfactory. It is not good enough for the state's second largest city, and I am pleased that the Premier has made that commitment.

The very informative information given to us on the vaccine rollout by Dr Chris Moy yesterday certainly gave me great comfort that we are on track and that the program is rolling out as intended. People not needing to travel from my electorate up to Adelaide to receive the vaccine is welcome news. With those words, a bit of my speech is redundant because we received the answer I was looking for in today's question time.