One of Ballarat's strongest community advocates has pleaded to the community to take the vaccination race seriously.
Sundram Sivamalai, who is the president of the Emotional Well-Being Institute and foundation chair of the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council, has put the call out to the Ballarat community to continue to get vaccinated as Victoria approaches the light at the end of the tunnel.
His plea comes on the back of new vaccination figures, which showed a significant surge in Ballarat.
Dr Sivamalai said while some may be busy with work, family or volunteering, the need to get vaccinated was just as important, if not more so.
"We're all part of the regional community in Ballarat and we are all part of the Ballarat fabric. We have shown our solidarity to support each other and our affected communities," he said.
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"Lately, we have shown our solidarity to raise funds to help victims who have been affected by the bushfires. This request that I'm pleading to the community is in many ways very similar to show and share our social responsibility to our community. If our community is safe, our children and schools and our spouses at work are safe."
Dr Sivamalai said as the vaccine rates rise, there will also be less emotional stress placed on those who contract the virus and their friends and family.
"It is very distressing to watch the scenarios of the pain that COVID patients go through. We do not wish anyone to be facing the same disastrous situations," he said.
"I know that pain as I have lost my relatives to COVID-19 recently. When we lose a person, especially in a regional place like Ballarat, not only our family, but our committee shares the sorrow and feels the pain."
Dr Sivamalai said he was especially pleading with Ballarat residents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to seek advice if they're unsure about vaccination.
"There are people who are qualified to give you the advice, the GPs, the pharmacists, people working in the health clinics and other health professionals," he said.
"This is what we need, I think, to reiterate again and again, they have to seek for information. If they're not certain, if they're not quite convinced of what they hear, talk to people, talk to people who have gone through that experience. It's not a nice experience.
"There's a certain percentage of them holding professional positions, they may be fine, but then there are others who maybe don't have a medical background or may not have a good command of the language, these are the people we also need to be aware of. They need a lot of connection and support and, where possible, have a chat with them and keep them in the loop."
Dr Sivamalai said a community response was especially important in a city the size of Ballarat.
"Particularly in Ballarat, you are putting Ballarat at risk. It's not just for yourself but you're putting not only your family but also the community at large at risk," he said.
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