Saturday, September 18, 2021

Penrith says vaccination hub needed for vulnerable residents

Penrith City Council is calling on the NSW Government and health authorities to prioritise the needs of the City’s most vulnerable residents to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Council says it has repeatedly approached the local health district to offer use of Council facilities in the east of the LGA to establish a vaccination hub at St Marys, one of the 12 suburbs in Penrith under the tightest lockdown restrictions.

It says those repeated approaches have to date fallen on deaf ears, with Penrith Mayor, Karen McKeown OAM becoming increasingly frustrated and concerned for the welfare of the residents in those areas.

“The residents in the 12 suburbs of concern in Penrith are being forgotten by health authorities,” Mayor McKeown said.

“They have been put under the harshest of lockdown restrictions, yet where is the support? Where are the vaccines to prevent the spread?

“On one hand the Government has told them they cannot travel, yet there is no vaccination hub available to them. Again, today we hear there are more vaccines available to NSW, but our experience is the most vulnerable are still missing out.

“Council is not alone in calling for this. I acknowledge the Member for Londonderry Prue Car, has done the same along with multiple attempts by Councillors, including Cr Robin Cook, for this aid. What will it take for us to be heard?”

The 12 suburbs – Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair, St Marys – labelled as areas of concern were plunged into lockdown as the spread from neighbouring LGAs threatened to spill over into Penrith.

However, the lockdown across those suburbs has been disproportionate to the spread, especially where Orchard Hills is yet to record a single case, Council says.

“The vaccination hub at Caddens is underutilised. Those resources could be better served in St Marys which is far more accessible,” Mayor McKeown said

“Recent meetings held between Council and local multicultural and multifaith leaders have reinforced the need for a localised approach to support greater vaccination take up in these communities.

“A successful rollout has been applied in other LGAs with their communities, we are pleading for this to occur in or around the St Marys – Oxley Park area too.”

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