City of Sydney councillors have unanimously supported pop-up COVID-19 vaccination hubs to be prioritised as the inner-city seeks to reopen next month.
At a September Council meeting, councillors unanimously supported a Mayoral minute that sought to continue supporting vulnerable communities through the Sydney lockdowns.
“Many people say that this lockdown, which has now stretched for three months, has been harder than the restrictions imposed last year. Whilst necessary to protect us from COVID-19, it is taking its toll,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore told the meeting.
“I remain concerned that many of our most vulnerable community members will be left behind.
“They are at risk now and this will only increase when more of our economy opens up next month.”
The City of Sydney Local Government Area (LGA) has recorded lower vaccination rates than comparable areas of Greater Sydney and has been tormented by recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Redfern, Waterloo and Darlinghurst, resulting in strict lockdowns for vulnerable residents, including those in social and Aboriginal housing.
Recent meetings between Ms Moore and the Sydney Local Health District resulted in the opening and extension of vaccination clinics across Ultimo, Redfern, Zetland and Woolloomooloo until December.
Councillor Kerryn Phelps expressed concern about the city’s reopening.
“The City of Sydney is one of the financial hubs of the country … I think we need to have a discussion of to what extent we put in mitigating measures in the City of Sydney LGA until vaccination rates are over the 80 per cent of vulnerable groups,” Ms Phelps said.
“If the city opens and doesn’t put in those mitigations or public health orders don’t consider the fact that the city is likely to become a fairly concerning hotspot if we open up too soon and without enough restrictions … we are going to leave a lot of people behind.”
Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully stressed the importance of catering for all inner-city residents.
“We are home to double the average of the highest income communities and double the average of the statistically lowest-income communities, we are a community that represents the polarisation of Australian society and we do need to make sure that people aren’t left behind, particularly at this moment of crisis,” Ms Scully said.
“[Having] consistent pop-up hubs, particularly centred close to social housing hubs, that is going to make a world of difference in communication, and people actually being able to get there and get vaccinated.”
The motion was carried unanimously by councillors, which will mean that Council’s Chief Executive Officer Monica Barone will be requested to prioritise access to inner-city facilities for vaccination clinics until the end of the year, and as necessary beyond 2021.