Coronavirus Australia: Victoria cuts time between AstraZeneca doses as Covid outbreak explodes

Dan Andrews HALF the wait between AstraZeneca doses in a bid to increase Victoria’s lagging vaccination rate as Covid outbreak explodes


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Victoria has shortened the time between AstraZeneca shots as the state struggles to cope with the latest coronavirus outbreak and meet vaccination goals.

The interval between doses has been halved from 12 weeks to six after the state registered 176 new infections on Thursday.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews hopes 70 percent of eligible Victorians will have received their first dose by September 23, so some restrictions can be eased.

Thursday’s announcement makes the waiting time between AstraZeneca doses the same as for Pfizer, of which Victoria has limited supply.

“It will take six weeks for AstraZeneca and for Pfizer bookings going forward,” said Acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie.

Victoria has shortened the intervals between AstraZeneca shots as 176 new cases were registered (photo of a worker at a Melbourne vaccination center)

Victoria has shortened the intervals between AstraZeneca shots as 176 new cases were registered (photo of a worker at a Melbourne vaccination center)

“This change and the additional delivery of the Commonwealth’s Pfizer vaccine when it arrives in Victoria will help us achieve our vaccination goals faster.”

“But more importantly, they will really contribute to the response to community transmission, put downward pressure on cases and help protect the health system.”

More than 52,000 AstraZeneca appointments for the coming weeks remain available.

Of the state’s 176 new cases, 83 are related to known outbreaks, and the source of the remaining 93 infections is under investigation.

Health Minister Martin Foley said 67 cases were in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, 61 in the west, 22 in the east and south, 13 in the regional city of Shepparton and one case in Geelong.

It is not clear how many cases have been isolated during their contagious period.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews hopes 70 percent of eligible Victorians will have their first shots by Sept. 23 (picture of a teen being vaccinated on Thursday)

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews hopes 70 percent of eligible Victorians will have their first shots by Sept. 23 (picture of a teen being vaccinated on Thursday)

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews hopes 70 percent of eligible Victorians will have their first shots by Sept. 23 (picture of a teenager being vaccinated on Thursday)

Victoria’s massive escalation of cases was diagnosed from 48,372 tests, while a further 33,720 rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated on Wednesday.

Of the latest cases, 67 were in Melbourne’s north and a further 61 in the west.

A further 13 cases were from the Shepparton outbreak 180km north of Melbourne and were isolated as a result of the day 13 testing.

Of the 61 cases currently in hospital, 20 are in intensive care, 13 of which require ventilation.

An outbreak at a Melbourne call center for the state’s coronavirus hotline is of particular concern to authorities after the cluster grew to 17.

About 400 primary close contacts are now in self-isolation.

A case at Base Backpackers in St Kilda is also of concern. The person has been placed in hotel quarantine.

It is the second consecutive day in the state of more than 100 locally registered cases, after 120 were reported on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has admitted efforts to bring cases down to zero have failed, with severe restrictions set to remain in place until October.

Authorities have shifted their focus to suppressing the outbreak to avoid overwhelming the health system as they rush to achieve higher vaccination rates.

The Victorian government announced on Wednesday that 12th grade students, teachers and examiners will be given priority booking from state-run clinics between September 7 and 17.

They must make an appointment online prior to their appointment.

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education work directly with schools, and students and parents are advised on how to arrange a booking through their school.

Everything you need to know about Victoria’s latest restrictions

Thursday (September 2, 11:59 PM)

* Playgrounds will open again, but strict rules will continue to apply. Children under 12 must only be supervised by one adult/guardian who must wear a mask.

*Home carers, such as babysitters and nannies, are extended to include school-age children, but only if both parents are authorized employees.

The following restrictions will be eased once 70 percent of Victorians have had their first dose, expected on September 23

*Training limit is extended from two hours to three

*The radius of 5 km from leaving the house is extended to 10 km

*Outdoor recreation parks such as skate parks and gyms are reopening

* Private inspections of vacant properties for sale or rent are permitted. Only one household may be in the property at a time and the broker must remain outside during the inspection

*Construction sites can operate at 50 percent capacity once 90 percent of workers have received their first dose

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