SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

IT’S a testament to the people of Bass Coast, and also to support agencies such as the Bass Coast Shire Council, Bass Coast Health and the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit that Bass Coast is close to achieving 90 per cent single-dose vaccination.

And we’d expect those numbers to be super-charged over the next few weeks with the arrival of the mRNA vaccine Moderna, sure to be a popular choice at local pharmacies, for age 12 to 59-year-olds. Good supplies of the Australian-made Astra-Zeneca, highly rated for its long-lasting coverage, are also available.

It means that 90 per cent fully vaccinated within the next month is within our reach and who knows, we could push up towards 100 per cent effective vaccination coverage well before Christmas.

So, with Bass Coast LGA sitting at sixth on the state hit parade, it’s not surprising that the area would be selected as one of 20 regions in the state to host the so-called “double vaccination trials” from Monday, October 11.

But please, Mr Premier, you can’t expect local business to go nude on this.

They need a lot of training, and they need a lot of support.

And the community also has to display a level of patience while these practices are being bedded down.

Already local business leaders have warned of fatigue amongst frontline staff expected to challenge customers who might have escaped Melbourne or for not wearing masks or for crowding into areas where only 10 are allowed inside… and it’s wearing a bit thin.

For sure, there will be some who will have a negative response to the “No Jab, No Entry” rules and other well-meaning people who won’t be able to prove their fully vaccinated status or exemption credentials.

And the state government needs to be prepared to swing in behind with solutions, patience, and support, even to the point of alerting local police of the possible flashpoints.

But the overriding attitude has got to be… we need to do whatever it takes to get clear of the scourge of the pandemic, mindful that we’re (hopefully) in the home straight.