Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley fronted the media again to congratulate Victorians for “very strong day in testing in the community”.
The Minister said that there were 43,542 tests, and “1157 visits from authorised officers and members of the Victorian Police to those quarantining at home”.

Mr Foley said that Victorians were working to “drive down transmissions to zero” and said, “we need to continue to follow the public health rules to make sure that we can slowly open.”

He added that there was “wastewater detection of the virus in the east and west of Melbourne”.

When asked if the Victorian Government was assisting NSW with their COVID19 crisis, Mr Foley said that the government was in “constant conversations, not just with NSW but all states with whatever learnings and support we can provide.”

“Our bitter experience in Victoria from 2020 has given us learnings and we do our best to provide advice.”

READ MORE: “Vaccine hesitancy in migrant communities needs urgent action”, says Jenny Mikakos

Mr Foley added that “Victorians have learnt that by going hard and going early” was the only solution until everyone was vaccinated.

He said that the Burnet Institute, (an Australian medical research institute), proved that wearing masks “stopped 40 per cent of all COVID-19 transmission.”

Mr Foley was asked by Neos Kosmos if he’d seen the opinion piece by his predecessor Jenny Mikakos (featured also in an ABC report) that highlighted vaccine hesitancy in over 60-year-olds in multicultural communities.

Ms Mikakos said that there are millions of vaccinations by AstraZeneca nearing their used-by-date which should be promoted to over 60-year-olds in multicultural communities.

“Good on her,” Mr Foley said, then went on to herald the efforts of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Victoria, for “publishing a statement urging the Greek community to step forward and get vaccinated.”

READ MORE: Eradication or suppression? Jenny Mikakos casts doubt over Victoria’s COVID-19 strategy

Greek Community of Melbourne President Bill Papastergiadis issued a statement last week with the combined voices of Greek church leaders and Greek health sector calling on Greek Australians to vaccinate.

“I welcome the Greek Community of Melbourne’ statement with the support of the Hellenic Medical Association and the Archbishop, and various peak groups, urging community to come forward and get vaccinated,” Mr Foley said.

“The Hellenic community is highly motivated, as are all of our multicultural communities, in responding to the vaccination programme,” Mr Foley said.

Neos Kosmos asked the Minister if he will advocate for better multicultural communications on in national cabinet, particularly for over-60s to use AstraZeneca?

Mr Foley said that the government continues to work with all the communities.

“If there is any hesitancy that’s out there, and if there’s more we can do, if there is the need for a wider targeted national campaign that will work with multicultural community leadership to achieve that, we will advocate for it in the national cabinet.”

The creator of AstraZeneca came out saying Australia’s mixed messaging the vaccine could cost lives. Mr Foley a strong advocate for vaccines said, “the global vaccination programme saves lives.”

He made a point of his second jab of AstraZeneca saying he was fine.

“The public health messaging continues to promote AstraZeneca and Pfizer, and near future Moderna, as safe and effective vaccines that will protect you from serious disease and seriously cut down chances of being hospitalised.”

Minister Foley added that there was “no shortage of people wanting to get vaccinated” and focused on the vaccine supply that will “ramp up over the coming months.”

The Minister said that we need as “many vaccines as possible and as early as possible, and then, as part of an integrated plan developed in national cabinet” to have all eligible Australians vaccinated “as soon as possible to get us into a safe 2022 and beyond.”