BALLARAT Health Services will extend its community COVID vaccination hours to seven days a week for a likely booking boom with teenagers added to the mix.
The change is in response to a Victorian government jab expansion and more supply on the way.
From Wednesday, residents aged 16 to 39 can access Pfizer from state-run vaccination clinics, including BHS' base at The Mercure.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced an 830,000 booking injection across the state the next four weeks and of these, 450,000 will be Pfizer doses with the balance in AstraZeneca.
This will allow anyone aged 16 to 59 to be eligble for Pfizer and comes a fortnight after 18 to 39-year-olds were given access to AstraZeneca.
At the same time, BHS is hosting a government COVID jab blitz for aged care and disability workers in the region. BHS is accepting walk-up appointments, with proof of work, at the Mercure until Sunday.
As a state-run facility, appointment numbers are set to vaccine availability and managed by Victoria's health department. This caused a shortening in hours due to a vaccine shortage at The Mercure almost three weeks ago.
Premier Andrews asked for patience in the vaccination expansion. He said the doses he had announced were secure but there would still not be enough vaccine for everyone.
He also urged anyone with existing vaccine appointments to keep them.
"...Every time we have opened up additional age cohorts, additional age groups, we have seen really significant and strong take-up...Now, I just want to caution, there are, like 1.2 million people in that (16 to 39) age group, who we don't think have been vaccinated yet," Premier Andrews said.
Sixteen and 17-year-olds are only eligible for Pfizer. The premier said those aged 18 to 59 would be offered both. Victorians aged 60-plus remain only eligible for AstraZeneca, on medical advice.
BHS will accept walk-ins for people aged 60-plus to receive AstraZeneca from 8.30am to 3pm daily.
BHS primary and community care executive director Craig Wilding said this expansion was an important step to keeping everyone safe. He thanked those who had already rolled up their sleeve.
"With additional appointments being made available, we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to protect themselves, their families and the community by choosing to have the vaccination when they are eligible," Mr Wilding said in a statement to media.
Anyone aged 16 to 59 must book an appointment with BHS via the state's coronavirus hotline, 1800 675 398, or online portal.cvms.vic.gov.au/. The online portal enables people to see available appointment slots, and people are encouraged to regularly check this site.
People are encouraged to check the government booking site regularly for new appointments.
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