Geelong has maintained the lead among Victorian regions racing to vaccinate the population against Covid.
Victorians are still flooding to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with regional Victoria on track to exit lockdown early, despite authorities warning the state’s case numbers will continue to soar.
Victoria recorded 246 new locally acquired infections on Tuesday, including 156 more mystery cases, resulting in nearly 1800 active cases across the state.
Alongside the expansion of Pfizer eligibility for between aged between 16 and 29-years-old, and the Premier flagging the state’s shift to what he is calling a “vaccinated economy”, with trials to begin that grant greater freedoms to people who have been fully vaccinated, the vaccination rate has accelerated across the state, inching a ‘little bit ahead’ of the vaccination schedule.
“There is going to be a vaccinated economy, and you get to participate in that if you are vaccinated,” Premier Andrews said.
“We’re going to move to a situation where, to protect the health system, we are going to lock out people who are not vaccinated and can be,” Mr Andrews said.
The government says it is in the process of developing an industry pilot program to trial the viability of a vaccine economy, where more events, facilities and services are open to people who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s also been flagged that vaccine passports will most likely be trialled in regional Victoria with more on that to surface soon.
Currently, more than 60 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and above have now had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and as previously announced, once 70 per cent of eligible people have had at least one vaccine dose, the government has flagged a minor easing of restrictions for Melbourne residents.
According to federal government data and Sydney Morning Herald’s live vaccine tracker 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 a huge 47.73 per cent of people aged 15 and over in the region being fully vaccinated, up from 43.2 per cent a week prior.
Bendigo follows closely behind with 47.18 per cent and Warrnambool at 45.95 per cent as of yesterday.
The Borough of Queenscliffe has also been dubbed Australia’s most vaccinated local government area, with 71.8 per cent of residents over 15 already fully-vaccinated and a staggering 91.8 per cent of people having already received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
In greater news though, Geelong also was one of the top areas in the state for people with at least one dose, with 71.3 per cent of people 15 and up in the region has had at least one dose, up from 66.3 per cent a week before.
Warrnambool and the South West are leading here with 71.69 per cent of their eligible population receiving their first dose.
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Looking at the state, Victoria is currently sitting at 60.75 per cent for first doses with 37.79% fully vaccinated.
Health Minister Martin Foley on Monday confirmed there were still plans for an easing of restrictions for regional Victoria, with the likely exception of Shepparton. He described the latest Covid-19 outbreak as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and an overwhelming number of people in hospital in Victoria had not been jabbed.
“This current outbreak is targeting the unvaccinated because that’s where the virus will go,” he said.
“Our best way in which to protect ourselves, our family, our community and to get to the other side of this is to get vaccinated.”
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 and can be difficult to secure.
Pfizer supply to the states and territories remains limited, with Australia agreeing to deals with the United Kingdom and Singapore for a total of about 4.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, double this month’s supply. It’s also 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.”
From Monday, the federal government will bring online an extra 402 Victorian GPs over two weeks and double the number of doses provided to hundreds of other clinics to 300 a week. This will open up thousands of appointments for Victorians still waiting to be vaccinated.
You can book your COVID-19 vaccinations online here or by calling 1800 675 398. Additional appointments are added as supply becomes available.