TOP PRIORITY healthcare workers and aged care residents across the region remain waiting for COVID-19 vaccines after the state's first jabs were delivered on Monday.
This will likely be at least until Wednesday.
Ballarat Health Services will host one of the state's nine Pfizer vaccination hubs. This program, led by the new Grampians Public Health Unit, remains awaiting final details.
Austin Health, Western Health and Monash Health, the latter working with Alfred Health, were to deliver the first vaccines to Victoria's most at-risk workers.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley last week announced Barwon Health would trial an outreach model via its public residential aged care programs with the Pfizer vaccine from this week. This model would then be adapted across regional Victoria.
Ballarat Health Services chief Dale Fraser said vaccination roll-out plans remained on track and BHS would be ready to start immunisation in line with health department guidelines once the vaccine was made available.
Mr Fraser said personally he was relieved when he saw footage of the plane carrying Australia's initial Pfizer vaccines land last week after such a long period tackling and preventing COVID-19.
"Our team is working with [the department] and local health providers to coordinate vaccinations across the Grampians region," Mr Fraser said. "The focus will be to ensure that the vaccination is made available to all those who chose to be vaccinated, in a very safe, inclusive and accessible way."
Private aged care homes in the region appear set to receive the vaccine against the deadly virus this week. The roll-out for private aged care facilities is a Commonwealth government responsibility.
The federal health department would not release details of a vaccination schedule for the region's private aged care. Staff at facilities The Courier spoke to on Monday said it would be mid-to-late week before immunisations in Ballarat and some facilities were yet to receive any confirmation.
Many told The Courier they were ready to go when it was their turn.
The federal government has allocated about 12,000 doses to Victoria in the first week of the Pfizer vaccine roll-out, with up to 59,000 doses expected to be delivered within four weeks. BHS has estimated it will have about 2000 vaccinations in this initial phase, including those for public aged care facilities.
Mr Fraser last week confirmed BHS had been working closely with St John of God Ballarat Hospital, particularly to determine which front-line staff were eligible under the government's phase 1a priority list. These workers are likely to be those working in emergency departments, intensive care unit, respiratory clinics, COVID-19 testing sites and as paramedics.
IN OTHER NEWS
All other healthcare workers are listed in the roll-out's phase 1b. This phase will also include: Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples, Australians aged over 70 not in aged care, people with complex medical conditions and other emergency workers. This phase is set to start by the end of April under the federal government's pledge to deliver four million jabs in this timeframe.
Phase 2a includes Australians aged over 50, the balance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and critical workers. Phase 2b is other adults. Timing will largely rely on availability of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
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