YOUNG Ballarat leaders are joining a rallying cry for their fellow 20 and 30-somethings to roll up their sleeves, take a jab and do their part to protect the region from the deadly coronavirus.
This comes in the week Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews added adults under-40 to the approved list for state-run COVID-19 vaccination hubs to have AstraZeneca jabs.
Previously in Victoria, AstraZeneca had been available to the general under-40 cohort with consultation from a general practitioner.
Young Ballarat leaders join a growing movement led by the region's key advocacy body Committee for Ballarat in calling on leaders across community organisations, business and sporting clubs to set an example and encourage others to sign up for a jab.
Most under-40s who are lining up for AstraZeneca told The Courier they want the little things in life to return to normal, like hanging out with friends and travel, that they were missing.
But there was also a strong sense of community and wanting to reassure others this was an action they could take, safely, to help end uncertainty and fear in lockdowns.
Here are four under-40s who spoke to The Courier:
"The main reason I'm getting the jab is to protect myself and my community.
"The other main thing for me is I'm just getting frustrated with the constant lockdowns - the inability to go to my parents house or have my sister over for dinner.
"That inability to connect is hard. It would be lovely to sit on the couch, watch a movie and have a glass of wine with my sister.
"I'd love to get back to the footy and go to shows, support the arts industry.
"Constant lockdowns are so hard. There are so many day-to-day life things that are just too risky."
"I'd like to protect myself, my family and my community.
"I'd also like the ability to be able to travel. I have extended family in Nigeria but also just the ability to travel around the world once we're vaccinated.
"If we get this vaccination, hopefully everyone in the state can travel more within the state or interstate. You're not just getting it for yourself but to protect others as well.
"As a health professional you get it for yourself but also to protect patients - you're always out there looking after vulnerable people.
"As a youth coordinator (for Ballarat African Association), I think it's a good example for me to get the vaccine, to show I've had it and that I'm fine and you guys will be okay as well. I want to set a good example so everyone's all aware and on the same page."
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"I disagree with Prime Minister Scott Morrison that this is not a race - it is a race to get vaccinated.
"I want to do my bit to getting everyone safe, saving businesses and saving lives.
"I'm bristling at the fact there is vaccine hesitancy - I don't think it exists as much as people think. Lots of young people I know want the vaccine.
"I'm excited (Victorian Premier) Daniel Andrews has opened up state clinics to under-40s."
"I feel a responsibility to my community. It's not just about protecting myself but others in the community and I can do this in a small way by getting the vaccine.
"I figure, if I can get it now than later down the track when they might bring in vaccine passports, I'll be ready.
"I encourage people to just go out and do it, do your part."
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