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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Vaccine rollout ramps up

The Victorian Government will this week open the doors of its largest high-volume vaccination centres to anyone over the age of 70 for bookings, as well as walk-ins without an appointment.

While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is a Commonwealth-led program, Minister for Health Martin Foley says Victorian health experts have been working hard on ways to ensure they can continue to deliver vaccines for Victorians as quickly and safely as possible, following the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s (ATAGI) latest recommendations.

“Our medical expert’s recommendations obviously impacted the national rollout, but here in Victoria, we’ve worked around the clock to find solutions to get vaccines in people’s arms as quickly and safely as possible,” Minister Foley said.

“By Wednesday, our health professionals will have everything they need to administer AstraZeneca to eligible Victorians of all ages, and they will continue to do so to the highest standards of safety and quality,” he said.

“While this expansion provides more options for Victorians over the age of 70, it’s expected most people in this category will continue to receive it locally with their trusted GP – that’s something we’re pleased to encourage.”

From Wednesday, April 21, Victorians eligible under phases 1a and 1b of the rollout will be able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at three of Victoria’s high-volume vaccination centres located at the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the former Ford factory in Geelong.

Mr Foley said the move provided more options, particularly for Victorians over the age of 70, in addition to being able to receive the vaccine at Commonwealth-led general practice sites.

With more workforce training underway, assurance on provider indemnity now confirmed and further consumer information now available, the Government will also lift the pause on the administration of AstraZeneca to eligible people under the age of 50 years who choose to receive this vaccine, from Wednesday.

Where supply is available, eligible people aged under 50 can also continue to receive the Pfizer vaccine through the pre-existing, successful model of workforce-based appointments, which has already seen over 160,000 Victorians vaccinated.

Mr Foley said Victoria would continue to work closely with the Commonwealth, health services and representatives of general practice on the national rollout.

“Victoria’s offer to the Commonwealth to reallocate the state’s AstraZeneca supply for the next fortnight to our hard-working GPs also still stands,” the health minister said.

Information on how eligible Victorians can access high-volume sites for forward bookings and walk-in appointments is available at coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine.

Phone bookings are strongly recommended to help ensure people choosing this option can be vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible.

For more information about the Commonwealth’s vaccination program, visit health.gov.au.

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