Victoria Covid update: Melbourne teenager shares how ‘Covid almost killed me’ amid new vaccine push | Victoria



A 17-year-old girl from Hume has shared her brutal experience of “nearly dying” with Covid-19 in a push to encourage Victorians to get vaccinated as the state recorded its deadliest day of the current outbreak and passed 60% second dose targets.Saela and her seven family members acquired Covid-19 while she was completing Year 11 last month. At the time, she wasn’t eligible for the vaccine.“There are a lot of people my age who think they’re invincible and don’t need the vaccine,” she said.“They think they are young, they don’t have conditions. They won’t be affected but Covid almost killed me.“My whole family was sick. Everybody was coughing and suffering from aches and pains … my symptoms were worse, with coughing fits that left me breathless.”Saela’s family initially worried for her grandparents, who were older and at a higher risk. But in the second week of Saela’s symptoms, her situation rapidly deteriorated and she was transferred to Box Hill hospital.“I sat alone in the ambulance and … said goodbye to my family. I was so scared and lonely,” she said. “My health progressively got worse and one night … I was struggling to breathe … I was so scared I was screaming and I thought I was going to die, and then I felt nothing.”Saela woke up nine days later, with a tube coming out of her neck, unable to move. After nearly a month, and 15 days in intensive care, she eventually made it home, but said her mind was “still fragile” and she required ongoing physiotherapy.Her mother, Michelle, said she was “in shock” when she received a call from Saela’s doctor informing her that her daughter was being transferred to ICU.“In the next 24 to 48 hours, she was critical. It was hour by hour,” she said.“I wished that she had been vaccinated, but it was too late. Last week, she was in school and the next week she was in a coma … I was broken.“We’re not actors. This is not a script … she wanted to share her story … maybe anonymous people online will try and make her feel bad for speaking out but they should know nothing will make her feel worse than Covid did.”From Wednesday, Victorians will be able to walk up and get vaccinated at shops, clubs, gyms and cultural hotspots in a push to drive up vaccination rates in high-risk areas in Melbourne’s outer north, west and south-east.It comes as Victoria reported 1,571 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases overnight and one case in hotel quarantine.There were 13 further deaths reported on Wednesday – Victoria’s deadliest day reported this year – a man in his 50s, three people in their 60s, four people in their 70s, four people in their 80s and a woman in her 90s.The pop-up vaccine program begins today at a coffee shop in Melbourne’s outer north, and will expand to “diverse and localised” settings including neighbourhood houses for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.“These … models are designed to support Victorians to get access to the vaccine, Pfizer in particular, in the most convenient, familiar and easy to deal with locations,” health minister Martin Foley said.“And, equally, in culturally safe and protective locations for those Victorians who might need that further reassurance as to the need to come forward and get vaccinated.”“I think we have to brace ourselves for the, sadly, inevitable fact that there will be more fatalities from Covid,” Foley said. “These are tragic human stories. There are families and there are communities grieving as a result of Covid losses.”The Royal Children hospital’s neonatal unit has forced dozens of premature babies into isolation after the intensive care unit was visited by Covid-positive parents.Foley said the hospital had “done an outstanding job” and it wasn’t the first exposure the Royal Children’s had grappled with. So far, no new cases had emerged.Chief health officer Brett Sutton said transmission was still broadly concentrated in Melbourne’s northern, western and south-eastern suburbs, while cases in the regions had remained “reasonably stable”.From midnight Wednesday, the Mitchell shire will emerge from lockdown and enter the same restrictions as the rest of regional Victoria due to a stabilisation of Covid-19 transmission and rapidly increasing vaccination rates in the LGA.There were 705 people being treated in hospital across the state, including 146 in intensive care and 92 requiring ventilation. Some 91% weren’t fully vaccinated, and of those in intensive care, 98% weren’t fully vaccinated.



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