AT LEAST six of Mornington Peninsula Shire’s 11 councillors have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, while another two are waiting for their age group to be cleared for the jab.
In doing so, the councillors are backing up the shire’s online request for residents to “help stop the pandemic by getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you”.
People and culture manager Kelly Gillies said the shire’s urging for vaccinations followed advice from the Chief Health Officer and supported the state government’s efforts to encourage community vaccination.
There was no requirement for staff – many of whom interact with the public – to be vaccinated, but they were being encouraged to do so, “including allowing them paid time from work to get the vaccination”, Ms Gillies said.
“We aren’t recording who is and isn’t vaccinated as vaccination status is considered private health information. We are, as always, following and complying with all directions from the state and federal governments.”
The mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said she had been fully vaccinated since mid-July, adding that Cr Lisa Dixon had had “both doses” of AstraZeneca.
Cr David Gill and Cr Sarah Race are scheduled to have their second shots this week.
“I’m passionate about getting people vaccinated – the sooner 70-80 per cent of us are, the sooner we get out of living with lockdowns,” Cr Race said, just as Victoria entered its sixth lockdown.
Cr Anthony Marsh described himself as “one of the lucky Australian’s …unable to get a vaccination due to lack of supply”.
“Noting that AstraZeneca is not recommended for those under 60 and Pfizer is unavailable under 40, I will continue to ‘hurry up and wait’ until the time comes that I’m actually able and eligible to comply with the health advice and get vaccinated,” he said.
“That said, I consider do myself lucky to be in a lower risk category, so happy for others to be prioritised given the lack of supply.”
Cr Steve Holland, in the same age bracket as Cr Marsh, has registered to be notified “as soon as that changes”.
Cr Kerri McCafferty: “I got vaccinated about three hours after I got a text telling me I was eligible. I pretty much jumped in the car and drove straight to Frankston to get it done.
“I’ve had my first dose of Pfizer and am looking forward to having my second dose when I can.”
Cr Susan Bissinger is set to have her second Pfizer shot on Saturday.
“While so many are grappling with the dilemma [over whether get vaccinated], my choice was made easier as I have had a couple of bouts of pneumonia a few years ago, and my straight talking doctor strongly recommended that I am vaccinated for my own wellbeing,” she said.
“As anyone who has had pneumonia or any type of respiratory infection will tell you, it can be an awful and frightening experience to go through, and from all reports COVID has the potential to hit so much harder with a much worse outcome.”
Cr Bissinger said getting vaccinated for COVID was a matter of choice.
“I certainly don’t like the possibility that people who choose not to get vaccinated may be vilified in any way, after all it is their choice,” she said.
“Consideration should also be given to the fact that once you are fully vaccinated you can still contract COVID and pass it on to others; it just means that if you are fully vaccinated you won’t get a severe case that sees you hospitalised or worse.
“I am really hopeful that the vast majority of vulnerable and older members of our community will choose to be vaccinated for their own protection.”
Crs Antonella Celi, Paul Mercurio and Debra Mar did not respond by deadline when asked if they had been vaccinated.