This Doctor Vaccinated 15,000 People In Western Sydney After Turning His Basement Into A Vax Hub
The legend also set up a testing clinic in his front yard.
Seeing the COVID outbreak brutally rip through his Western Sydney community, Dr Jamal Rifi postponed his retirement, bought two tents from Bunnings, and set up a testing clinic on his front yard. He even set up a vaccine clinic in his basement.
“My front yard is totally different — my younger son hates it because he has no privacy,” Dr Jamal told Australian Story.
The new NSW state opposition leader, Chris Minns, invited the doctor to his press conference yesterday to celebrate the man’s achievement of vaccinating 10,000 people in five months, and another 5000 in just three weeks.
Dr Jamal pleaded for more vaccine supply to keep his newly established drive-through vaccine hub in the Bulldogs sports ground running for seven days rather than the three it has capacity for — if so, he says he can vaccinate 10,000 people a week. He also requested the curfews in the hotspot be lifted so he and his team could continue vaccinating past 9pm. (Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced today that the curfew would be ended this evening.)
Dr Jamal was convicted of treason in Lebanon for working with a charity that helps Palestinian patients seek treatment in Israel, and was sentenced to 10 years prison, meaning he cannot return to his home country. He now plays a strong role in combatting vaccine misinformation in Western Sydney.
“I definitely see there is a link of my work that I have done against extremism in the past and my work that I’m doing right now against COVID itself,” he told the ABC. “We might have a vaccine against Delta that’s going to protect the most vulnerable in the community, but unfortunately we don’t have a vaccine against these idiots marching in the middle of Sydney.”
When he heard on the radio that people with disabilities had lower rates of vaccination, he decided to attend the group homes to help get them protected against COVID. “To be honest it was a logistical nightmare,” he said. The mental health of the pandemic is not only impacting those who are locked down, but particularly those who are unable to lockdown, and Dr Jamal has seen his health deteriorate due to the long hours spent on his feet, rapidly trying to test and vaccinate people as quickly as possible.
He says he’ll finally retire when he’s vaccinated almost everyone in the Canterbury -Bankstown area. When he does, he’ll take a trip around Australia in his campervan with his wife, and that sounds very well deserved.
You can watch the Australian Story episode over here.