The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) recently partnered with the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services, DPV Health and the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia (HMSA) to deliver a Vaccination Pop Up at its St George Greek Orthodox Church Hall in Thornbury this past weekend.
For four days from 27 August, DPV Health staff saw and vaccinated 986 people derived from a broad spectrum of the community that included older local Greek residents, younger students and members of the greater Thornbury area.
The Pop-Up was created following an offer by the GCM directly to the Minister of Health to assist with Vaccinations in any which way DHHS saw fit. GCM president Bill Papastergiadis OAM said: “The use of the Thornbury site was designed to bring the vaccination program to the local neighbourhood and to provide a familiar and safe local solution for the those unvaccinated members and in particular vulnerable elder members of our local Greek community.”
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Minister Foley alongside local MP Kat Theophanous visited the site on Saturday where they were greeted by GCM president Bill Papastergiadis OAM and A. Professor Marinis Pirpiris, Treasurer of the GCM and President of HMSA.
Minister Foley said as he visited the Pop Up: “This program would not have happened without the co-operation and without the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne. This reflects the deep and important relationship between Greek Australians and the Victorian government… It will keep Greek Australians, their family, the wider community safe.
“Even more importantly, its our ticket to opening borders and its our ticket to reopening with the Greek community right around the world and especially back home in Greece. I want to make sure that this kind of program is rolled out right across our multicultural community. Especially our very large, strong Greek community, and again thank you to the Greek community of Melbourne for their outstanding leadership…. Let’s get each other vaccinated and let’s get the border reopened.”
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Local MP Kat Theophanous also visited the site and said: “This is a really wonderful day and a beautiful partnership between the Greek Community and our health services here in Victoria. It’s getting more people vaccinated in a way that’s accessible and appropriate for them. In a place where they live and work and we’re very excited to see how its going to boost the vaccination rates which means that our Greek community can get to Greece sooner and visit their families even sooner. I’m very excited about this, its a wonderful partnership and I’d like to see more of it rolled out as we continue our vaccination program.”
The Pop Up will return in late September and November to facilitate second doses.