EXTRA jabs will be made available in Ballarat in a bid to help tackle the city's COVID outbreak with the state government to outline by the weekend.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the government wanted to use the seven-day hard lockdown period on Ballarat to vaccinate as many residents as possible.
Premier Andrews said the virus was going where vaccines were not. Of the state's active cases, he said four per cent were aged under-50 and one-quarter were aged in their 20s.
Ballarat's first jab rate was at 71 per cent, according to federal health data released this week.
The city's second jab rate had slowed to a 2.8 percentage point rise the past week, down from a 4.4 percentage point jump a week earlier.
While there could be many reasons for this, the double-dose lag does not compare to other major regional centres, including Horsham, Geelong, Warrnambool, Bendigo and Mildura.
Ballarat Health Services acting chief Melanie Robertson backed City of Ballarat's call for calm and, while the city was well-prepared for an outbreak, getting vaccinated as soon as possible should be residents' priority.
"We need Ballarat to reach 80 per cent first and second doses so we can end these lockdowns. While you're at home make your vaccination booking - if you're due for your second dose don't put it off," Ms Robertson said. "We need everyone to watch out for development of symptoms. Please take care of yourself by getting tested if you have any symptoms.
"The news yesterday that a young man in Melbourne died at home from COVID-19 is simply tragic. Getting tested is free. It doesn't hurt, and it triggers measures of support for you and your family, if you are positive.
"Testing and getting vaccinated helps us get on top of the spread of this deadly virus. It helps us care for you."
Testing and getting vaccinated helps us get on top of the spread of this deadly virus. It helps us care for you.Melanie Robertson, Ballarat Health Services acting chief executive officer
VIctoria's COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar said there were plenty of vaccination appointments available in and around Ballarat this week and more details were still to be confirmed as to where the boost would be allocated and how people could find this.
The vaccine dose injection comes as Victoria hits one million doses in five weeks at state jab hubs, ahead of target, and about a week after Ballarat Health Services delivered its 100,000th jab in the Grampians region.
Grampians Public Health Unit confirmed earlier this week it was working on pop-up jab stations in Ballarat areas which were identified as areas of low vaccination rates by the government on Sunday.
IN OTHER COVID NEWS
Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said every vaccine was "another brick in a defensive wall against coronavirus".
Professor Sutton said first dose vaccinations had boomed 30 per cent in Shepparton in the past fortnight and this set a tone for what was possible in an outbreak. Greater Shepparton was to exit lockdown Wednesday at midnight, just as City of Ballarat plunged back into isolation.
He made clear the urgency in booking a vaccine was at least an eight-week window before full protection kicks in. This included the six-week interval in state hubs between first and second doses, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and two weeks for your immune system to fully step up.
"Shepparton has shown us the way, that you can control even the Delta variant - even with dozens and dozens of cases - if you can quarantine all of those contacts, get very high rates of testing, and drive vaccination all at the same time," Professor Sutton said. "The uptick in vaccination in Shepparton is obviously a response to the significant cluster there.
"This is a point to make. If you are only now thinking of getting vaccinated because there are cases in your community, in your local government area, in your town or city, that should be a reminder to you that you need to book in at the earliest possible time.
"...So please don't wait for a case to pop up, for a lockdown to occur in your town or city before you say now I really need to get the vaccine. Not blaming anyone. I'm saying, is a lesson for everyone in Victoria."
IF YOU HAVE ANY COVID SYMPTOMS
Do not visit your GP or the emergency department to get tested
Return home, stay at home, and isolate from others in your household if possible
Arrange to get a test as soon as possible - testing is free
UFS Respiratory Clinic
Book Online or call 03 4311 1571
4Cyte Pathology Ballarat COVID-19 Collections
No appointment required - hours of operation click here.
630 Skipton Street, Redan
Drive-through at Marty Busch Reserve, Sebastopol (Entry via Charlotte Street)
No appointment required - hours of operation click here
If you are unwell and need care please call 000
If you do not need urgent care but are unsure of what to do, call 1800 675 398
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