PEOPLE booking in for vaccinations against the deadly coronavirus are encouraged to double-check appointment reminders for the correct address.
Initial bookings for the Commonwealth-funded respiratory clinic, run by UFS, were falsely directing people to the UFS-led COVID-19 testing site instead of the new Drummond Street vaccination hub.
The issue was corrected by early afternoon on Tuesday, one day before the UFS hub was set to start jabs for people eligible under phase 1b. It took two weeks to change.
UFS chief Lynne McLennan said this had created huge stress and anxiety on staff but also potentially for hundreds of Ballarat residents, who could start booking in for their first jab, to find where to go.
Until Tuesday afternoon, the only way to get the right directions had been to call by phone - on the government website the listed number had been for the testing clinic. This has also since been changed.
"I've never seen anything so incompetent in my long career in health," Ms McLennan said.
"We've got everything ready to start.
"...A lot of people have been banked up wanting to get the vaccine but there is a difference between the two sites."
To make clear:
This comes with Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt catching many general practice staff unawares across the nation early last week by listing the first clinics to start delivering phase 1b AstraZeneca immunisations from Monday this week.
There were 10 clinics listed in the wider Ballarat region.
Ballarat Medical Centre confirmed to The Courier on Monday it would wait until after Easter to start vaccinations, in a bid to better prepare staff and prioritise the most vulnerable patients.
Ballarat Community Health will also wait until after Easter to start phase 1b at its GP sites in Lucas, Smythesdale, Wendouree and Sebastopol.
Phones at Ballarat Group Practice clinics went unanswered but the group's website featured notification COVID-19 vaccinations would start on Wednesday.
The UFS vaccination clinic will take eligible UFS patients and eligible community members for the free vaccine and strictly by appointment only. The clinic has the capacity to inoculate a maximum 150 people per day.
People eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination under phase 1b include: people aged 70-plus; healthcare workers; emergency service personnel; some people with underlying medical conditions; some people living with a disability; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 55-plus.
This equates to about 6.1 million Australians.
Ms McLennan urged people not to rush because there was ample vaccine supply and, as of Tuesday, no active COVID-19 cases in Victoria.
The latest data shows there has been 25 days without a locally-acquired COVID-19 case in Victoria and 15 days since the last hotel quarantine case.
The UFS vaccine clinic will open Wednesday operate 9am-5.30pm on weekdays and 9am-4pm on weekends.
To check eligibility visit covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/
Book online via www.ufs.com.au/vaccine. Patients who are unable to book online can phone 4320 0891, but those phoning may need to be patient due to an expected high call volume.
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