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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

Pfizer eligibility expands: “Just do it”

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.

ARARAT’S young adults have turned out in force to get vaccinated, following the expansion of Pfizer eligibility last Wednesday to all Victorians aged 16 to 39.

PHOTO: Ebony Dowling, 17, received her first dose of Pfizer last week ahead of year 12 exams in October and November. (Jack Ward/Ararat Advocate)

East Grampians Health Service’s Community Vaccination Clinic has been heartened by the positive response, and those rolling up their sleeve are calling on others to do the same.

Ararat College year 12 student, Ebony Dowling, 17, had her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in her arm 15 minutes after calling EGHS on the first day of expanded eligibility.

“It's just a little thing that can prevent others getting sick, including myself,” she said.

Ms Dowling was one of seven Ararat College year 12 students to receive their first dose last Wednesday, with others booked in over the coming weeks.

“While I was there getting the vaccine, I noticed two other classmates of mine also getting it which just proves how we're coming together to better the future,” she said.

Marian College’s Ella Stirling, 18, is also in her final year of secondary school. She urged Ararat’s young adults to “just do it” and roll up their sleeves so life can get back on track.

“If it helps the community and we can fast track getting out of lockdowns, I will do anything to try and help,” she said.

“People my age are complaining about remote learning, online school and how much it sucks but they're not getting vaccinated or they're not trying to get vaccinated.”

Ms Stirling said she is pleased to hear her friend group is booking their doses; however, she continues to hear reasons for hesitancy.

“We need to get onto it and start getting vaccinated. It's the only way that we're going to get out of this,” she said.

Minister for Education, James Merlino, said last week the Victorian government has made it a priority to administer at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to all final year students before their exams in October.

EGHS chief executive, Andrew Freeman, said the health service has been extremely pleased with the response in the last ten days.

“We are very impressed with the number of young people coming through the EGHS Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic since eligibility opened up to the 16-39 age group for the Pfizer vaccine,” he said.

“They seem to be very excited and optimistic about getting the vaccine, which is fantastic to see, and we hope this continues.”

Mr Freeman said the clinic will continue to open up appointments according to the supply.

Appointments can be made by phoning the call centre on 1800 675 398 or visiting the online portal at

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