Victoria backs jabs call for COVID-hit areas
THE Victorian Government has backed calls to pour more vaccines into Melbourne’s north and west, where the bulk of new COVID-19 cases are detected.
Of the 324 new locally acquired infections reported in Victoria today (Thursday, September 9), 297 came from the city’s northern (195) and western (102) suburbs.
In an open letter signed by GPs, community leaders and pharmacists from Melbourne’s north, the federal and state governments have been asked to redirect Pfizer doses to the region to prevent a surge in hospitalisations.
“The vaccination rate in the Hume LGA is now the second-lowest in the state, at a time when it has the highest number of active coronavirus cases in the state,” the letter says.
“This will create enormous pressure on our healthcare system and will cost lives.”
Health Minister Martin Foley said about half of the state’s vaccine allocations were already going to the city’s COVID-hit north and west, but he strongly supported the call.
“We will be doing all we can in our available stocks to reprioritise even more of those vaccines,” he told reporters today.
“But we would also clearly support the call for the Commonwealth to deliver as much as they possibly can to the north and west.
“What we are seeing now is a recognition of just the level of seriousness of the outbreak in the north and the west.”
Mr Foley said 107 of the new cases were linked to known outbreaks, with the source of the remaining 217 infections under investigation.
The last time Victoria recorded more than 300 cases was on August 14, 2020, when 301 infections were logged.
Yesterday (Wednesday, September 8), Premier Daniel Andrews said he wasn’t shocked by the jump in new infections.
“The key point is to keep those numbers as low as we can – not zero – but to keep them as low as we can so that our nurses have got a fair fight,” he told reporters outside parliament.
Mr Andrews said the Burnett Institute was working on detailed modelling, which will forecast the peak of the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, how the healthcare system will have to respond and what vaccine uptake will do to slow the spread.
He expects the information will be made public in the coming week.
Under the health department’s latest projections, Victoria will reach a total of 18,000 active cases by October 16, which is about 10 times the current rate of infection.
Of those projected cases, 800 will need hospital treatment, including 250 who will require an intensive care bed.
There are about 400 staffed and available intensive care beds available in Victoria daily.
The state can make 1,500 available intensive care beds in the public hospital system if required, though the premier in April 2020 announced $1.3 billion in funds to create 4,000.
There is an “enormous amount of work” being done to prepare the state’s hospitals for a surge in cases, Mr Andrews says.