Time between Vic AZ COVID vaccines halved
THE interval between doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been halved from twelve to six weeks in Victoria, as the state records one-hundred-and-seventy-six new infections.
Acting chief health officer Ben Cowie says the change will be reflected on the state’s vaccination booking website from Thursday.
“This change and the additional supply of Pfizer vaccine from the Commonwealth, when it arrives in Victoria, will help us to reach our vaccination targets faster,” he said.
“But more importantly, they will really contribute to the response to community transmission, put a downward pressure on cases, and contribute to protecting the health system.”
The change makes the wait time between AstraZeneca doses the same as for Pfizer, of which the state has limited supplies.
Professor Cowie said there were more than 52,000 available AstraZeneca appointments in the coming weeks.
Of the state’s 176 new cases, 83 are linked to known outbreaks, with the source of the remaining 93 infections under investigation.
Health Minister Martin Foley said 67 cases were located in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, 61 in the west, 22 in the east and south, 13 in the regional town of Shepparton and one case in Geelong.
It is not yet clear how many cases have been in isolation throughout their infectious period.
He said an outbreak at a Melbourne call centre for the state’s coronavirus hotline is of particular concern to authorities.
Some 17 people who work at the call centre have tested positive and 400 primary close contacts are now self-isolating.
A case at Base Backpackers in St Kilda is also a concern. The person has been moved into hotel quarantine.
Meanwhile, Victoria is further tightening its border with NSW with the premier indicating it could remain closed until the end of the year.
As COVID-19 cases rise across both sides of the Murray River, six Victorian and two NSW local government areas, including Bendigo, will be tossed out of the state’s border bubble from 11.59pm on Thursday.
There are 1029 active cases in the state, including 61 battling COVID-19 in hospital.
Twenty are in intensive care, including 13 who are on a ventilator to breathe.
It is the state’s second consecutive day of more than locally acquired 100 cases, after 120 were reported on Wednesday.
The government has conceded efforts to bring cases down to zero have failed, with tough restrictions to remain in place until October.
Authorities have shifted their focus to suppressing the outbreak, keeping the health system from being overwhelmed, while racing to reach higher vaccination coverage.
– BY AAP