Ballarat's mass vaccination hub is up and running for over 70s, and next week, will expand to over 50s.
Appointments are preferred but not required for the hub at the Mercure Hotel on Geelong Road, which began operating fully on Monday morning.
When running at its peak, it's expected more than 1200 people will be vaccinated per day at the site.
Some of the first people through the doors on Monday were Bill and Jan Miles from Kingston, who were "anxious" to get vaccinated as soon as they could.
"We do interstate trips selling orchids, and you go to orchid fairs that have quite a lot of people - I think you'd feel safer if you were vaccinated," Bill said.
Jan added the vaccine hub should have been running "long ago".
"I think this is a great idea, it should have been done long ago, but I don't suppose the vaccine's been available for it," she said.
"We did try at our local clinic, but they have no vaccine, so there seems to be a bit of a shortage in country areas.
"As soon as we saw this was opening up, we thought right, we're going to go for this if we can, and we did, we managed to get in.
"I recommend it, I think if you want to get your life back, you need to get the vaccine."
While the queues weren't overbearing on Monday morning, demand is expected to ramp up.
Grampians Public Health Unit operations director Robyn Wilson said the hope was to keep the queue running.
"I'm hoping we have to do lots of trips back to the hospital to get more vaccine because we're using it all up," she said.
"I think the last two weeks has given everyone pause to think for a minute, but I think everyone's keen to get back - we just had the latest positive case in Melbourne, it's a timely reminder that this is what we're about, sometimes it's easy to forget why we're doing all this.
"It's still present in our community, we're a moment away from having another spread of this disease."
The setup is simple - on arrival, recipients check in and get their temperature taken.
They are then directed to one of two streams, one for people with appointments, and one for people without.
For people without appointments, more details are taken, and a Medicare card and photo identification will be required - for people in stage 1A or 1B, a work card is also needed.
From there, recipients are split into two queues, depending on their category - over 70s receiving AstraZeneca or 1A and 1B receiving Pfizer - with colour-coded stickers matching waiting areas in the conference centre.
At the end of the queue, nurses will ask final questions "to make sure it's safe for you personally and you understand what you're having," Ms Wilson said.
After getting the jab, there's an observation area where recipients will be supervised by nurses for 15 minutes - on leaving, there's a space to make the follow-up booking, which is three weeks after the first jab for Pfizer and 12 weeks for AstraZeneca.
Ms Wilson said there should not be any supply issues.
"(Supply) is managed by the Commonwealth, they distribute it either to the state or Commonwealth depending on who's supplying it," she explained.
"We get a four week projection - it's really important, especially with Pfizer, that we don't give the first doses to people when we can't be sure we don't have a second dose ready for them, so it's just being careful about the delivery of the vaccine."
There will also be follow-up messages to keep track of how recipients are feeling after getting the jabs.
From Monday, May 3, over 50s can also receive their jabs - that's excellent news, according to Buninyong MP Michaela Settle.
"I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be so happy to be over 50," she joked.
"I think everyone's pretty keen to be vaccinated - I'm not sure anyone likes getting that jab in the arm, but they're all very keen, and with (Jan and Bill), for them, it's freedom, it means being able to travel again and engage in business again."
Wendouree MP Juliana Addison said everyone eligible should be making plans as soon as they could to get vaccinated.
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Phone 1800 675 398 to make a booking - appointments can also be made through GPs, and at the centre itself.
Remember to always maintain good hand hygiene, wear a mask when in public, and keep a 1.5 metre distance from others at all times.
Anyone with the slightest symptoms is urged to get a test immediately, and must self-isolate until results come back - book online at bchc.org.au or phone 4311 1571 to make an appointment.
For more information, visit the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website, or phone the hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice if you are displaying symptoms.
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Reporter at the Ballarat Courier
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