BASS Coast Shire Council is looking to lead the vaccine charge and aims to be the first shire state-wide to reach an 80 per cent vaccination rate.

Last Friday, council’s CEO Ali Wastie and Mayor Cr Brett Tessari were at Wonthaggi Town Hall handing out free sausages, as well as tickets for the movies and Phillip Island Nature Parks, for those getting vaccinated.

Ms Wastie said council launched the initiative to help encourage residents to get their jab as soon as possible.

“We’re hoping to inspire other local government authorities and organisations to get behind similar initiatives,” she said.

“We’ll keep on rolling out these free initiatives until we’re at that 80 per cent mark that we so desperately want to achieve.”

Ms Wastie said the vaccination rate for Gippsland was approximately 28 per cent for fully vaccinated, and 53 per cent for one vaccine.

“It’s going up all the time, so we’re hoping that we can accelerate that and get as fast as we can to that 80 per cent mark,” she said.

“We really want to open up to all of Melbourne, it’s not just about all of Bass Coast getting vaccinated.

“It’s so important for our economy that we open up and welcome Melbourne back with open arms, understanding that international visitors are still quite some time off.”

Ms Wastie added dozens of businesses across the shire have got on board with the initiative, including cafes, bakeries and beauty salons.