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The change a GP has noticed in the community response to COVID cases in Melbourne’s west

Neil Mitchell
Article image for The change a GP has noticed in the community response to COVID cases in Melbourne’s west

A general practitioner who has been on the frontline fighting COVID-19 in Melbourne’s west since the pandemic began says he’s noticed a “significant difference” in how the community is responding to virus outbreaks.

GP at Altona North Medical Group, Mukesh Haikerwal, says poor messaging contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Melbourne’s west last year.

“I’ve noticed significant difference this year,” he told Neil Mitchell.

When there were outbreaks linked to schools in the area last week, Dr Haikerwal says the schools “came to the party”, turning up for testing and vaccination in droves.

“People weren’t shying away … they did the right thing,” he said.

Dr Haikerwal says the community in Melbourne’s west is vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks because of a high number of residents working in essential care roles.

“We have people working in industries where there’s a high preponderance of cases: healthcare, childcare, aged care,” he said.

“We do have a younger population so they’re not getting vaccinated because they can’t get vaccinated.

“There’s more people in Wyndham than there is in Canberra, but there’s not the same level of provision of services.”

Press PLAY below to hear Dr Haikerwal’s thoughts on how Melbourne’s west is coping with outbreaks

Neil Mitchell
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