Victorians will have access to 300,000 doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine this month in hundreds of pharmacies across the state, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said.
Andrews announced that Moderna will be available at 440 drugstores across the state this week, and 281 more next week.
But he urged all those who had not yet booked to take any vaccine available to them now and not to wait. It comes as the state strives to meet up to 70% and 80% double-dose vaccination targets as part of its roadmap to get out of lockdown.
“Please don’t delay, please don’t wait, for these things are uncertain. Get the vaccine that is being offered right now, ”he said on Monday.
“This is the most powerful contribution you can make to your safety, to your health and of course to getting us to all of these National Cabinet deadlines, so we are opening the door.”
Anthony Tassone, president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Pharmacy Guild, said people aged 60 and over can still only access AstraZeneca. He said they shouldn’t wait for other vaccines, noting he already has patients over 60 trying to get Moderna.
“I’m sorry they are not eligible for this at this point. Please get AstraZeneca… It’s safe and effective.
Andrews also reiterated that the national cabinet learned on Friday that there would be a delay in shipments from Pfizer in October, meaning supplies to states would be cut.
ACT has also expressed concerns about Pfizer’s ongoing supplies. However, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday that the issue was resolved over the weekend and supplies would be as previously planned.
Victoria on Monday reported 567 new cases of Covid-19 and the death of a woman in her 60s from Moreland. This brings the total number of active cases in the state to 5,675, of which 85% are under the age of 50.
Of the cases reported on Monday, 87% were in the northern or western suburbs of Melbourne, with 14 cases in the Victoria area.
There were 209 people hospitalized, 59 in intensive care and 40 on a ventilator. Of those hospitalized, 86% were not vaccinated, 12% were partially vaccinated and three people were fully vaccinated.
As of Sunday, nearly 40,000 people were vaccinated in state centers, with just over 44% of the population over 16 now doubly vaccinated.
A demonstration at CFMEU headquarters turns violent
Meanwhile, hundreds of construction workers demonstrated on Monday morning outside the Construction, Forestry, Marine, Mining and Energy Union headquarters in Melbourne’s CBD.
Protest against new mandatory vaccination rules for the construction industry comes amid a growing number of outbreaks in the area in Victoria.
Workers chanted “Fuck the jab” and branch secretary John Setka was booed as he tried to speak to the crowd.
“Please calm down, can you at least give me the respect to speak.” We are not the enemy, I don’t know what you heard, ”he told protesters, in a video posted on social media.
“I never, ever said I supported compulsory vaccination.”
Once Setka got inside, protesters smashed a glass door to the building. Just before 2 p.m., a protester entered the interior to meet with union officials.
Andrews said the protests were “not smart, they are not safe”.
“This industry is 25% open, we want to reach 50%, getting vaccinated is an incredibly important part of it,” Andrews said.
“The protests are not working. Getting vaccinated works, following the rules works. This is how we stay open, this is how we open.
Monday’s protests come after construction workers set up plastic chairs and tables in the middle of Melbourne streets on Friday, protesting lockdown restrictions which included closing tea rooms for morning breaks.
As part of the roadmap announced on Sunday, Andrews said the lockdown in Melbourne would remain in place until 70% of Victorians over 16 are double-dose vaccinated, currently scheduled for October 26.
Only at 80% of the double dose will restrictions be loosened more widely, including the reopening of retail businesses, gyms and indoor hospitality for fully vaccinated people.
Modeling from the Burnet Institute, on which the roadmap is based, estimates that the number of cases in Victoria will peak between 1,400 and 2,900 between October 19 and 31, with hospitals facing intense pressure with between 1,200 and 2,500 patients requiring hospitalization during this period.
Andrews said the system would be very stressed, but a balance had to be struck between opening up or putting in place a plan to eradicate the virus forever.
“I think we have struck a difficult balance,” he said. “A period that will see, yes, a very difficult period in our healthcare system, but not a period that completely and totally overwhelms our healthcare system, not just for Covid patients but for every patient.
“And there are many, thousands of people every year who need hospitalization for urgent and acute and potentially life-threatening things that are unrelated to Covid.”
– with Australian Press Association