VICTORIAN Premier Daniel Andrews has reiterated a 70 to 80 per cent vaccination rate is the only available option to avoid harsh statewide lockdowns like we are living in right now.
The state's health department has confirmed there are more than 13,000 first-dose appointments available in its vaccination centres across the Ballarat region until the end of September. This includes the jab hub at the Mercure, which is run by Ballarat Health Services.
Premier Andrews said national mapping was clear: 70 per cent vaccination meant lockdowns were "less likely" but, in Australia, this was equivalent to the whole population of Victoria not being jabbed or nations the size of Ireland or Israel.
He said the step up to 80 per cent meant it would be "highly, highly unlikely anything like a state lockdown".
Those vaccination numbers give us many other options and they are all much better in the very limited set of options (now).Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews
"That means that we don't have to be locked down, certainly not statewide, we don't have to have many of the rules that are essential and our only option at this time," Premier Andrews said.
"Those vaccination numbers give us many other options and they are all much better in the very limited set of options that every state and the national government have reluctantly and with a heavy heart had to sign up to."
A Victorian health department spokesperson said there were also more than a combined 1700 first and second Pfizer doses open at state vaccination centres in Ballarat, Ararat, Charlton and Horsham in the next week. This is despite BHS shortening its jab hours due to a shortage of Pfizer in meeting community demands.
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Premier Andrews said every jab done today was better than waiting to join a queue for possible alternate vaccines that might arrive in a fortnight.
In Ballarat, Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs are also available at the Commonwealth-run UFS vaccination hub in Dana Street and limited pharmacies and general practices.
Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative has a vaccination program for the region's Indigenous peoples and from today this will be available to children aged 12 and older.
As of last week, UFS' vaccination centre was running at capacity with a three-week wait on AstraZeneca appointments and bookings into mid-October for Pfizer.
Victoria recorded 71 new locally-acquired coronavirus cases on Monday.
The health department confirmed 49 cases were linked to known outbreaks, while the remaining 22 infections remained under investigation.
In Victoria, all adults are now eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at state vaccination centres, GPs and pharmacies after providing informed consent.
Meanwhile, the premier has also reiterated a warning for people not wanting to isolate for a full 14 days and the dangers this poses to the wider community.
"Across the board, if you are asked to isolate because you are a primary close contact, of someone who has been confirmed as having had this virus - so you've been in the company of someone who is positive or you've been to an exposure site - if you are asked to isolate, it is incredibly important that you do that," Premier Andrews said.
"There's no down the shops or going and visiting someone -- ducking down the shops of visiting someone. There is no room for error."
(In isolation) There's no down the shops or going and visiting someone -- ducking down the shops of visiting someone. There is no room for error.Premier Daniel Andrews
The easiest way to secure a vaccine appointment is to book via the Victorian Coronavirus website or call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398. Eligible people can also book an appointment at participating GPs and pharmacies in their local area.
Anyone with even the slightest cold, flu or hayfever-like symptoms is urged to book a COVID-19 test at the UFS testing hub in Doveton Street (in the corner premise with the UFS vaccination hub on Dana Street). Call: 43 11 1571.
An independent 4Cyte pathology drive-through testing centre also operates in Skipton Street, Redan.
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