Demand for vaccines is outstripping supply in Victoria following the latest COVID outbreaks in Melbourne, Health Minister Martin Foley said.
Speaking to a regional press conference, Mr Foley said while the "pipeline" for vaccines allocated from the Commonwealth is growing, "without doubt", "is it growing fast enough to meet demand? Probably not".
He referred questions on vaccine stock in the regions to the state's COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar, who said there were "national constraints" on vaccine stocks.
This follows Victoria's recent blitzes for aged and disability care workers, and for ambulance officers.
"We're not really going to get big volumes until the end of August or September," he said.
"We're eking along with fairly constrained supplies in Australia as a whole - clearly we've seen a massive upsurge in demand from Victorians from two to three weeks ago with the outbreak, that's jolted everybody into a sense of getting it done now."
The Commonwealth provides the states with projections for the number of vaccines available, he said - the most recent goes up to mid-July: "That's as much visibility as I've got, about five weeks out, about how much vaccine we're due to get each week - it's not a lot of notice when you're dealing with a program of this scale and this volume," he said.
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"Certainly over the last two weeks we've running ahead of that program, we've been running with more than we get each week, and with some of those, we had a little bit of stock built up, we've used that, we're passing that, we're now into getting to seeing the bottom of the barrel each week, then we get our next supply.
"It's a little bit hand to mouth at the moment - we're in conversations (with the Commonwealth) every single day, but we're a little bit Oliver Twist at the moment, basically every time we go up we say can we have a little bit more because we have so much demand we want to get out."
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