22 October 2021

Thank you, Victorians: RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is thanking Victorians for the sacrifices they have made in lockdown.

Melburnians, who have lived through more days in lockdown than any other city across the world, are today waking up to their first day out of lockdown in months. It follows the general reopening of regional Victoria in September, with some isolated lockdowns occurring since then.

RACGP President Dr Karen Price said that the state’s residents should hold their heads high.

“Fellow Victorians, on behalf of the entire RACGP and Victorian community of GPs, I thank you,” she said.

“It is not fair that Melbourne has lived through so many days in lockdown but nothing about this virus is fair. I also applaud regional, rural and remote communities for abiding by restrictions, even when many of these communities experienced zero COVID-19 cases. It may have been a frustrating experience for some, but it was critical in our fight against this virus.

“For every Victorian who donned a mask, who physically distanced, who checked in using their phone or pen and paper, who got tested with even the mildest of symptoms and, perhaps most of all, got vaccinated – thank you. This entire public health effort relied on you playing your part.

“So, if you were one of the many people who quietly went about doing the right thing you should know that you were part of something. Spread the word to people in your life who did the same – well done. You were part of a public health response that you should be proud of.

“Too often our attention is directed to the minority of people who are only interested in drawing attention to themselves rather than thinking of others. That includes those who protested lockdowns or spouted anti-vaxxer nonsense on social media.

“However, we must not let them detract from the fact that a much larger group of Victorians did the right thing, helped limit community transmission, saved lives and took strain off our health system. You should hold your heads high and be proud, well done.”

Dr Price encouraged Victorians to keep up their efforts combating this virus.

“Today is a positive step forward but we have a way to go,” she said.

“Let’s get our vaccination rates even higher and do everything we can to ease the pressure on our health system. Our healthcare workers, including our hospital staff, are doing an incredible job but they need your help.

“We must do all we can to limit the transmissibility of this virus to give our healthcare workers a fighting chance. That means physically distancing, checking in with your QR code or pen and paper, getting tested when feeling unwell and, most of all, getting vaccinated.

“I know you have already done so much but I’m afraid I have one more ask. We have a small percentage of the population still not vaccinated and I refuse to give up on them. So please, talk to partners, friends, mums, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and colleagues about why they should get a COVID-19 vaccination right away.

“This is not over; in fact, the next few months will be the hardest for our healthcare workers. As restrictions ease and our society opens up, cases will spike and the pressures on our health system, particularly our hospitals, will grow and grow.

“However, there is something positive and proactive we can do as a community to protect those people who are particularly vulnerable, including older people and the immunocompromised. We can get vaccinated and encourage our friends and family to do the same.”

The RACGP President urged Victorians to keep in mind what they achieved together.

“Just know that your sacrifices have not been in vain, far from it,” she said.

“Without this lockdown, we would have seen many thousands more cases and deaths as well as an impossible strain placed on our entire health system, including our hospitals. The Delta strain hit our state hard. It is a strain that is so much more contagious, it only requires people walking past each other to spread the virus.

“When it dawned on all of us that Victoria was not going to return to ‘COVID zero’ it became a challenge of slowing the spread of infections until vaccination rates could catch up. Only then could we even hope to avoid our hospitals being overcome. Our hospitals have been under tremendous strain, mostly due to treating unvaccinated patients with COVID-19, but it could have been much worse.

“Because so many people did the right thing, many lives were saved, and we should not take that for granted.

“All health workers are doing their best after another exhausting year. It is heartening that so many Victorians took up the challenge of enduring more days in lockdown so that we stood some chance of keeping this virus from overrunning our health system.

“So once again, on behalf of the Royal Australian College of GPs – thank you Victoria.”

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor