Geelong and Bendigo currently have the highest vaccine uptake in Victoria

Geelong and Bendigo currently have the highest vaccine uptake in Victoria

Geelong and Bendigo maintain the lead among Victorian regions racing to vaccinate the population against Covid.

Victorians are flooding to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the state government widened Pfizer eligiblity for people aged between 16 and 29-years-old.  Previously New South Wales and the ACT have boasted some of the fastest vaccination rates in the world over the past week, and now Victoria is catching up after Pfizer eligibility was widened at 7am Wednesday morning.

According to federal government data showing what percentage of eligible residents aged 15 or over have received their first or second vaccine dose in every area across Australia, Geelong is leading in the race to vaccinate the population against Covid in Victoria with 43.2 per cent of people aged 15 and over in the region being fully vaccinated, while Bendigo follows closely behind with 43.1 per cent, as of Sunday.

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Geelong also was one of the top areas in the state for people with at least one dose, with 66.3 per cent of people 15 and up in the region has had at least one dose, up from 61.4 per cent a week before. This comes as the Barwon South West public health unit hit a huge milestone in its Covid vaccine rollout, with its 200,000th dose administered at the weekend. Absolutely huge effort from the Geelong region and its residents doing their bit to protect others. Barwon Health only just celebrated 100,000 does at the end of July.

Warrnambool and the South West are leading here with 66.6 per cent of their eligible population receiving their first dose.

This data comes as the government’s COVID-19 vaccination booking website received 50,000 hits per minute and the phone line had been rung 1.3 million times on Wednesday in what was dubbed Victoria’s ‘extraordinary’ vaccine response.

“Tens of thousands of Victorians are trying to book in right now,” Victoria’s Covid-19 deputy commander Naomi Bromley told on Wednesday. “So it is slow. It is busy. Please be patient. Please be kind to our staff.

“But people are getting through and making those bookings, which is really fantastic. There are still plenty of appointments available. We have had an extraordinary response to the changes to eligibility.

“This change makes the message really clear – every Victorian 16 years and over is now eligible to be vaccinated.”

From the federal government data, we can also tell you which areas of Victoria have the lowest rates of vaccination currently. The wooden spoon of vaccinations goes to Melbourne’s north west and west which have fully vaccinated rates of 27.2 per cent and 28.1 per cent respectively, with the north-west also trailing the state with just 47.8 per cent of eligible residents receiving their first dose.

Bookings for AstraZeneca vaccinations are currently available to anyone over the age of 18 years at the hub in Norlane, at the former Ford site.

Walk-ins are also available for AstraZeneca but Pfizer appointments are available by booking only. However it has been confirmed that Victoria has temporarily run out of Pfizer vaccine supplies for first doses, but state health minister Martin Foley is urging people to keep trying.

However, the Victorian health minister said that people who have already received their first Pfizer dose would still be able to make appointments for their second dose.

“Whilst there currently are no Pfizer bookings available right now for first doses in that system, don’t give up,” Foley told the daily press conference.

“As more becomes available from the commonwealth, we put more systems in place,” Foley continued.

“It just goes to show again, how strong the demand for Victorians, if we get the supply to get people vaccinated.”

Pfizer supply to the states and territories remains limited, with Australia expected to receive additional shipments of fellow MRNA vaccine Moderna in the coming weeks. However, Foley was insistent that Victorians unable to secure a Pfizer vaccine should consider AstraZeneca instead.

“If you can’t land one today through the state-run clinics, come back and have a look tomorrow,” he said.

“The fantastically effective AstraZeneca vaccine continues to be available at state centres and at GPS and continues to be the ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) endorsed vaccine, especially for the over 60s.

“The best one that is available for you, is the one that’s available today.”

You can book your COVID-19 vaccinations online here or by calling 1800 675 398. Additional appointments are added as supply becomes available.