Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Some of Melbourne CBDs most famous landmarks have been transformed into mass jab centres, with thousands of Victorians eligible for the COVID vaccination from Monday.Two of Melbourne’s most famous buildings will be transformed into mass COVID jab clinics, with high-priority vaccine recipients set to roll up their sleeves on Monday.
Australia is preparing to ramp up the vaccination rollout on Monday with the start of Phase 1B, which allows those over 70 and people with underlying health conditions to be vaccinated at GP clinics.
High volume vaccination centres are currently in operation at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and Sunshine Hospital, but new sites will also open at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, and the Royal Exhibition Building.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the rollout’s second phase would begin “slow and steady” as mass vaccination centres began servicing emergency service workers at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Royal Exhibition Building.
“This coming week we’re gradually standing up more high-volume vaccination centres to deliver the vaccine to critical worker groups allocated to us by the commonwealth in the next phase of their program,” Mr Foley said.
“We’ll be starting slow and steady at these high-volume sites, conducting dry runs over the first few days and ensuring all the systems and processes are safely in place — because that’s what matters most.”
It comes as government minister Jaala Pulford on Sunday revealed more than 52,000 vaccines — 35,000 to health workers and 4000 to hotel quarantine staff — had been administered in Victoria since mid-February.
Thousands of residents and staff in public sector residential aged care facilities, and border workers, have also received the jab.
Ms Pulford said the commencement of new vaccination centres marked another significant milestone in the fight against the virus.
“The program is gearing up to be extended … The Victorian government has a very specific role and target groups,” she said.
But she couldn’t confirm how many vaccinations were expected tomorrow.
“We’ve got a long way to go of course. It’s a big population, it’s a big task but the local manufacturing (of the vaccine) will aid that,” Ms Pulford said, adding that she believed the Victorian production of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be ready “later this month”.
“That’ll be another significant milestone.
“I think the commencement of the vaccine program was a really significant day for us, even if the vaccine, in arm, for most of us, is some months away.”
The state’s nine other hospital vaccination hubs will also continue to vaccinate Victorians.
Victoria on Sunday recorded no new cases, with more than 14,000 tests received on Saturday.
Only one active case remains in the state, and 23 days have passed since a case of local transmission was recorded.
Victoria has so far exceeded its COVID­- 19 vaccination goals, administering almost a third more doses in the first month of the rollout than ­originally forecast.
More than 52,000 doses have been administered in Victoria since the program began on February 22, far above the state government’s target of 40,000 shots in the first four weeks.
A further release of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be made available for the general public next week.
Under Phase 1B of the rollout anyone over 70, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55, other healthcare workers, younger people with underlying health conditions and critical and high-risk workers such as emergency services and police, will be offered a shot.
Phase 1B of the rollout is expected to take three months to cover up to six million Australians, provided there are no delays in gaining supplies of the shots from Europe.
Last week, almost a million people logged on to the federal government website trying to book a shot. GP clinics were swamped with bookings without knowing whether they had vaccinations to administer amid confusion caused by the announcement of the next phase of the vaccine program.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was an indication of public confidence in the vaccine. “We have been heartened by the early response that we’ve seen from the public this week,” he said.
Over the coming months, more than 4000 locations will be offering the vaccine and Mr Hunt asked for patience.
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