Brave volunteers are ‘BAND’ from helping in flood-ravaged communities – all because they haven’t had a THIRD Covid shot
- Volunteers from the State Emergency Service turned away because they had not had a third shot
- Daniel Andrews urged to waive all remaining Covid-19 vaccine mandates
- Victorian MP claims state response is hampered by jab requirements
Emergency services fighting the life-threatening floods in Victoria have turned down volunteers who wanted to help because they had not received a booster shot for Covid vaccine.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has also been urged to waive all remaining vaccine mandate requirements for SES volunteers, amid claims it will affect flood response.
“If the pandemic is really over, as Prime Minister Andrews claims, why can’t members of the SES help their neighbors during floods,” said Liberal Democrat MP Tim Quilty.
The shocking claim of denial of aid came despite SES’s policy that only two doses are needed to volunteer in communities in dire need of assistance.
But Peter, who has volunteered at SES for 10 years, said he and his wife weren’t allowed to help with the flood crisis because they hadn’t had booster shots.
SES staff help a family leave their home in Shepparton, Victoria, Australia, October 16, 2022
“We are both double vaccinated,” he told Neil Mitchell of 3AW radio.
“There are dozens of (SES) members, possibly hundreds of members in this state in the same situation,” he added.
Peter was shocked to be beaten back because he and his wife are the main daytime rescuers in their area of Victoria.
He said he was told a third shot was needed.
Peter and other volunteers were told by email to have at least three Covid vaccinations when Victoria’s pandemic statement ended last Wednesday.
But in a statement, the SES went on to say that volunteers need only two doses of vaccine to work on emergencies and receive training.
The resulting confusion about how many vaccine doses volunteers should have has led to some SES units being closed, Peter said.
There is confusion in Victoria about the number of vaccinations SES volunteers should have. Pictured is a Covid-19 vaccine vial
The closed ones are ‘Land units with four or five members, where two or three of those members are no longer allowed to be present’.
Peter said this meant some flood-affected SES units had to call in volunteers from outside the area to offer roadside rescues.
The revelations angered Mitchell, who said: ‘You can go to football with 99,000 other people, you can go to the pubs and dance and go on and do all kinds of things.
“If you have two chances (and you’re in) the SES, why not be (volunteer)?”
Mr Quilty said: ‘Since the flood crisis started I have been approached by a number of SES volunteers who were angry that they were not allowed to attend their units to help.
“It is absolute madness that as the rivers rise, dozens of SES volunteers are not allowed to help because they may not meet the double or triple vaccine requirements.”
However, Mr Andrews said Mr Quilty’s claims that vaccination rules affected the SES response are “simply wrong”.
“I really don’t understand why a certain MP is bringing this point up,” he told the… Herald Sun.
A member of the SES is pictured volunteering in the Melbourne suburb of Maribyrnong on October 14, 2022
“My advice is that Covid rules do not affect the response on the ground.”
The prime minister said he did not know how many volunteers were unable to help because of their decision not to get vaccinated.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Victoria SES to request comment on this story.
It comes as several towns in northern Victoria continue to build sandbag walls as the Murray River rises, peaking as of Wednesday.
Evacuation warnings are in place for people in Echuca and other towns along the river.
Emergency services fear that river levels could exceed 94.77 meters during the 1993 floods in Echuca.
More than 1,000 Echuca properties were already inundated with flooding on Sunday after the Campaspe River overflowed its banks.