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Two big announcements came out of yesterday's statement from the Acting Premier. 1. Victoria was entering a seven day lockdown and 2. Those aged 40 to 49 were eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (previously it was just those 50 and up). Vaccination centres - distributionSo where are our vaccination centres? They're listed here. You can make an appointment at any of them. Some also take walk-ins. The centre list linked previously gives an idea of waiting times. The maps below show their distribution with significant geographic inequality across Melbourne suburbs.
Note: Don't take these maps as gospel - centres may not talk walk-ins after a particular time or if their appointments are full. Also the vaccination website advises that more centres will be opening soon. Vaccination centres - opening hoursNote though that centre opening hours vary with early closings (eg 3:30 to 5pm weekdays) common. Arguably that's too early for a service that the state government says it wants everyone to use. Not all centres open weekends either. Think about how early Melbourne buses in the 1990s finished, take off a couple of hours and you get the idea. At least then you'd think that limited public transport operating hours won't be a barrier to reach a centre. Are you sure? Keep reading! Public transport access to vaccination centres* Ascot Vale, Melbourne Showgrounds: Melbourne Showgrounds is a big place. Information on where to enter, and even exactly where Gate 11 or Pavilion 4 is, was lacking on the vaccine website. Tram 57 goes past on Epsom Rd, providing a frequent all day, 7 day service. However there is no indication of walking distance of Pavilion 4 from the tram stop. Melbourne Showgrounds has a train station for major events (but presumably mass-vaccinations aren't major enough to use it or there is a preference to encourage individual travel).* Bentleigh East, Monash Health: Buses only. 822 is the main north-south route while 703 runs east-west along Centre Rd. 701 may also help some visitors from the Oakleigh direction while others might walk from the 627. * Berwick, St John of God Hospital: .You could walk from Berwick Station and bus interchange. Or, for more waiting but less walking, there's the 831 bus that goes right to nearby Casey Hospital. Centre open weekdays only. * Box Hill, Eastern Health: A street back from the 109 tram on Whitehorse Rd and walkable from the station with numerous buses, this is one of the most accessible of the suburban vaccination centres. Those unable to walk far also have the option of buses 281, 293 or 302 in the same street. However weekend service is sparse, particularly on Sundays when the 281 doesn't run, the 293 is only every 120 minutes and the 302 is hourly. This is significant as this site is a seven day vaccination centre and is the closest one to Doncaster which relies on buses 281 and 293 to reach it. * Capel Sound, Peninsula Health - Rosebud: This 5 day centre has the direct 788 bus every 40 minutes out the front and the occasional (and very indirect) 787 running behind it. It is also walkable from Rosebud Plaza so people can combine their trips. The 788 serves a large catchment making this centre convenient for those south from about Mornington to reach. * Carlton, Royal Exhibition Building: One of the most high-profile sites. It's open 7 days. Served by frequent service on trams 86 and 96. Buses such as 250/251 and 402 nearby connect to the inner north and inner west. Also walkable from stations such as Melbourne Central and Parliament. * Cheltenham, Monash Health: 5 days. Good north-south access is provided by the 903 SmartBus orbital every 15 minutes. East-west coverage via the 631 every 30 minutes or the infrequent 821. * Clayton, Monash Medical Centre: 5 days. Walkable from Clayton Station with trains every 10 minutes. Buses 631, 703 and 733 pass nearby with 631 calling into centre. * Coburg, Uniting Church Coburg: Five day site in a very accessible spot. Near Coburg Station on the Upfield line and not far from Sydney Rd trams. Buses 512, 513, 527 and 903 provide east-west links though the 512 finishes before the centre does. Buses 526, 530, 534, 561 are also not far away.* Cranbourne, Cranbourne Turf Club: A seven day site that is quite accessible. This is one of two locations that the coronavirus website actually lists bus route numbers (760 and 791) and mentions the nearest train at Cranbourne station. Even closer than the station (but not mentioned) are other bus routes that stop in Lyall St. * Dandenong, Monash Health: Operates 7 days unlike some buses that serve it. Dandenong got left behind in the bus upgrades 12-15 years ago and nowhere does it show more than right here. The hospital is poorly served with just the hourly 811 and the 40 minutely 861 operating 7 days. The hourly 802 and 804 operate 5 or 6 days only. Those willing to walk from Stud Rd get a better service with the 901 SmartBus (15 min weekdays, 30 min weekends) along with the hourly 862 from Dandenong. * Deer Park, IPC Health - Deer Park: A bit of a walk from the station but it is on a cross-roads with buses going in most directions. These include the 420 (north-south then ending up at Sunshine) and the 215/426/456 running west-east (ending at Sunshine or Highpoint). Bus frequencies range from every 20 min (420) to every hour (215). * Epping, Northern Hospital: A seven day centre. Near the shopping centre which offers a bus interchange. Can get the 901 orbital SmartBus across the north (from Tullamarine to Greensborough and beyond) or local routes in the Epping/Thomastown areas. Just beyond Epping Station's pedshed, though some will walk. * Frankston, Peninsula Health - Frankston: Like Epping this is a bit beyond the station's pedshed though some will find walking faster than trying to find one of the several infrequent (every 60 - 120 minutes) bus routes that operate. See the local map for a taste of how complex local bus routes are with few substantive changes in 30 years. This is a Monday to Saturday centre. * Heidelberg, Austin Health: Close to Heidelberg Station. Also served by 513, 551 and 903 buses. The 551 runs Monday to Friday only. The 903 orbital SmartBus caters for longer distance east-west trips. Seven days. The 5-day 546 may also work for some passengers. * Heidelberg Heights, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital: Again quite large with no specific directions. Centre operates seven days as do buses 513 and 903. However Route 548 (the only direct connetion to the south) is six days only. Routes 250, 350 and 549 (the last two part-time) are a little further away, to the west. * Melbourne CBD, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre: A bit of a walk from either Southern Cross or Flinders Street stations but trams 12, 96 and 109 are quite close. Seven days. * Ringwood, Ringwood East Community Clinic (Braeside Avenue): Not really accessible from the station of its name. And even if it was, the trains there run only every half-hour. It's a dead-spot with nothing else of note within walking distance. In theory the 670 bus every 15 minutes can get you there (if coming from the east) but you are chancing your life with trying to cross a treacherous highway at this point due to traffic, topography and the absence of pedestrian lights. This is a poor location that should not have been picked if good access was important. Open five days. * South Morang, Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre: Right near the council facility. Some may walk it from South Morang Station. The nearest buses are the 383 or the 386/387 (down The Lakes Bvd). Limited days. * Springvale, Sandown Racecourse: 7 days. This is another venue where they give train and bus information. However the directions were obviously written for car drivers with no consideration for 'human scale' access. However the centre is conveniently near Sandown Park Station where trains stop every 10 minutes, 7 days. Route 800 bus, running north of the racecourse, is also listed. This runs every 20 minutes on weekdays, 1 hour on Saturday mornings, 2 hours on Saturday afternoons (with an early finish) and not at all on Sunday. The absence of north-south bus routes in the area further limits access from nearby suburbs. * St Albans, Sunshine Hospital: A daily facility. It's walkable from Ginifer Station but the less mobile wouldn't attempt it. The popular 408 bus from Highpoint and Sunshine stops closer. It runs every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday but only hourly on Sunday. * Werribee Mercy Hospital: A traffic-chocked walk across Princes Hwy from Hoppers Crossing Station and bus interchange. The 153 and 498 buses (both every 40 min) stop closer. 5 days. * West Melbourne, Cohealth - West Melbourne: Open 6 days. Very good access and only a short walk from North Melbourne Station. This would be where you'd go if you come from the north and west and have limited access to centres nearer home. The 5-day 401 bus across from Melbourne University is another useful way to get to the area. And even closer is the 216 bus between Sunshine and the CBD. Timetables, maps and a journey planner for more information on these services can be found at ptv.vic.gov.au . Hypothetical - where might you add new vaccination centres?Now we'll go from fact to speculation. What if one hypothetically had truckloads of transportable medical buildings that could be plonked anywhere to form new vaccination centres in places that would maximise access by public transport? I'm not saying that this is the best, quickest or cheapest way to get everyone vaccinated but it is an interesting point to ponder. Here's my top picks. 1. Melton. Has to be a top priority since other centres are so far away. There are really only two options; Woodgrove Shopping Centre or Melton Station. Just about all local bus routes serve one or both of these centres. On average most of Melton is nearer to Woodgrove but the station is more central for fast growing areas to the south and around Cobblebank. The town centre would be a distant third. 2. Broadmeadows. Needs to be right near the station. This is served by multiple bus routes (including the 901 orbital SmartBus) and is on a train line. Other centres are not easily accessible from the area by public transport. It has a large low income population. Specialist multi-lingual staff will be needed here due to the area's diverse population. 3. Tarneit. There is just one good option here. Tarneit Station near the bus interchange. Many buses come here from most parts of the City of Wyndham. It would also serve a large number of relatively low car ownership households. Werribee Plaza was considered as a key local destination but it is relatively close to the existing site at the Mercy Hospital. Even if it takes up half the station car park, this land use is far more important. 4. Footscray. While parts are gentrifying the area around Maidstone and Braybrook has a significant low income cohort. Ideally the location should be near the station (rather than the hospital) to aid access from the Newport/Altona North/Altona area. 5. Craigieburn. Arguably this is a bit close to Broadmeadows but it's a populated area with recent COVID-19 incidents nearby. Demographics may also feature workers in higher risk groups. If the Broadmeadows facility is near the station there is less need for this to be also. A site near the town centre might be acceptable as this is more central to the surrounding population.6. Watergardens. Maybe it's a bit close to Sunshine Hospital near Ginifer. However it has convenient public transport access from Sunbury, Caroline Springs, Keilor Downs and even Niddrie (which has no local centre). And comparable areas in the east have a density of centres that would not make this too much. Needs to be right near the station. 7. Greensborough. Probably a lower priority than the others above, especially given the centres near Heidelberg and its higher income and more mobile population. But it has the train plus two orbital SmartBuses that give access from a wide area. 8. Croydon. Yes, there's a centre at Ringwood East but as mentioned above its access via public transport is terrible so it can be disregarded for this purpose. One right by Croydon Station would have a significant and conveniently accessible catchment up to Lilydale, south via the 664 bus and into the Dandenongs via the 688 bus. Chirnside Park would be a second option but its distance from the train is a disadvantage. 9. Knox City. Off the rail network but has the 901 SmartBus from the north and south, 664 to the north and 732 to the east and west. A close second preference would be either Bayswater, Boronia or Ferntree Gully stations. Both are good for the Belgrave line but have patchy connectivity with the transport starved Knox area. 10. Glen Waverley. Not as big as gaps in the west. But there's still a gap between centres near Clayton and Box Hill. And lots of buses serve Glen Waverley station. So have one here. 11. Caulfield. The CBD centres aren't right at a station. Neither is Dandenong, Bentleigh East or other centres. Caulfield has mediocre public transport links to the north but has strong rail connections as well as tram 3/3a from the inner south. Put it at the racecourse opposite the station for best access. 12. Fountain Gate. While there's a facility not that far away at Berwick, access from many surrounding areas still isn't great due to limited local bus services. Fountain Gate is about the most accessible place in the area from a wide catchment. Hampton Park Shopping Centre could be an alternative location in the area. 13. Hastings. You could argue that this doesn't need a centre as the 782/783 bus runs to the vaccination site at Frankston. However it is still a fair distance. So a case for a local centre may be at least arguable. 14. Mornington. Has an older demographic skew. Its local bus routes don't pass Frankston Hospital. Main Street (where it would need to be, preferably near the hospital where the 788 stops) is quite near other bus routes including 781, 784 and 785. 15. Springvale. You could argue against this as Sandown Park is close. But Springvale is a very busy hub with local shops. It is also on the 902 SmartBus which would make it accessible from locations such as low-income Springvale South as well as Aspendale Gardens, Edithvale and Chelsea (which are a bit away from other centres). Specialist multi-lingual staff will be needed here due to the area's diverse population. Remember that this is a hypothetical list based on one criteria - public transport access to the largest number, with a skew towards less mobile or harder to reach population groups. In practice other criteria will also be considered important. Also I make no claims as to the feasibility of setting up centres at any of these locations (eg nearby usable facilities or available space for transportable buildings). ConclusionThe distribution of vaccination centres reflects existing facilities and/or operational convenience rather than where the people are or which locations are most easily accessible (eg near rail junctions). Their opening hours are sometimes short, making access difficult for people including in essential occupations. Also access by public transport services is not always good. However it is understood more centres will open. This will be vital to achieve the high rate of vaccination necessary to stop the spread and reduce the need for lockdowns as currently being experienced. See other Building Melbourne's Useful Network items here
Disclaimer: All care taken but no liability accepted for inability to get vaccinated due to any errors contained above. Check the Victorian government's COVID vaccinations website for the latest details on locations, opening hours, appointments and eligibility as all are subject to change.This item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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