Big change could come to Bunnings carpark

 

In what might be the most Aussie way to get vaccinated ever, many could soon be heading down to their local Bunnings for a sausage sizzle while they get their jab.

The hardware company has said it is open to the idea of helping the Federal government with the vaccine rollout, after national cabinet agreed to fast track vaccinations and introduce a "12-week sprint".

Bunnings' chief operating officer, Deb Poole, told The Guardian the company would be willing for its premises to serve as mass vaccination hubs if required.

"We've previously supported the government and the community by hosting COVID-19 testing in some of our store car parks and we're always open to discussing further support directly with the government," Ms Poole said.

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It is understood Bunnings has not approached the government with this offer, but the company is open to discuss how this plan might be put into action.

La Trobe University associate professor and epidemiologist, Hassan Vally, told the publication that setting up vaccination sites at Bunnings stores could encourage more people to get the jab.

"Most people haven't seen a vaccination occur in person, so if you're going into a Bunnings a few times and you keep passing the vaccinations, then the next time you're on your way out with your potting mix, you'll go up and ask," Professor Vally said.

He noted that a large section of the community regularly goes to Bunnings or has one nearby, making it a very convenient option for a mass vaccination hub.

"If people go to Bunnings and can get their sausage sandwich after their vaccine on the way out, that's a good thing," Professor Vally added.

 

 

Australia's COVID-19 vaccination rollout has been faced with many hurdles, slowing the process down considerably.

Now, the government has come up with a plan to fast-track the process, meaning millions of Australias could be vaccinated sooner than originally thought.

National cabinet met on Monday to discuss resetting the national rollout, including the possibility of mass vaccination hubs to fast-track vaccine delivery.

One of the items state and territory leaders agreed to "in principle" was bringing forward the AstraZeneca vaccine for those aged 50 and over, or phase 2A.

The proposed changes to the rollout are expected to be discussed at today's national cabinet meeting.

With the AstraZeneca vaccine now only being recommended for people over 50, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he wants it to be made available to those aged between 50 and 69 sooner rather than later.

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"We don't want to see one vaccine that's rolling off the line and going through the approval processes and the batch testing sitting in a fridge," Mr Morrison said.

"If there's someone over 50 who's there and wants to take that vaccine we'll be looking at how that can be achieved today.

"There are strong, strong arguments for the bring forward of over 50s with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is a safe and effective vaccine for those aged over 50 and particularly important for those aged over 70 who are already in that priority group."

Mr Morrison also proposed a "12-week sprint" at the end of the year that would see six million Australians aged under 50 vaccinated.

The push would be dependent on the Federal government receiving its expected delivery of 20 million Pfizer vaccine doses in October, as well as the Novavax vaccine, which is yet to be approved.

"There's a lot of work to be done given that would be effectively, if we wished, a 12-week sprint," Mr Morrison said.

"To be able to do that safely and effectively … there'd need to be plenty of planning to achieve that."

Originally published as Big change could come to Bunnings carpark