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Vic pop-up vax hubs for hotspots, schools


By Callum Godde in Melbourne
Source: AAP

A series of pop-up vaccination hubs will be set up in schools and COVID-hit areas, while an extra 400,000 Pfizer and Moderna doses are also heading to the state as part of a three-week blitz.

As the state reported 392 new local infections on Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced 100 pop-up vaccination hubs will be established across 100 “priority postcodes”.

“Postcodes where there are case numbers, postcodes where there are perhaps not enough people through the vaccination program,” he told reporters.

“This will be done in stages.”

The Hume, Dandenong and Casey local government areas, which have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the state, will be the first to welcome five community-based pop-ups.

They will open within the next fortnight, and Mr Andrews said demand will determine how long they stay before moving on.

The initiative has been integrated into the state government’s push to get all students aged 12 and up vaccinated by the end of the school year.

About 70 of the sites will be at schools, with the first eight in Dandenong, Point Cook, Werribee, Gladstone Park, Caroline Springs, Brunswick and Tarneit.

“These pop-ups are all about removing another barrier, taking the vaccination program to you,” Mr Andrews said.

“You can come and be part of that, get your first and second dose, play your part, get the lockdowns off and protect yourself against becoming seriously ill.”

Of the new cases announced on Sunday, 255 were from Melbourne’s north and another 89 came from the western suburbs.

In a further bid to vaccinate those areas as part of a three-week blitz, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed an additional 400,000 Pfizer and Moderna doses would be sent to Victoria.

Mr Andrews, who castigated the federal government over claims Sydney had received an unfair share of Pfizer vaccines last week, said he wasn’t tipped off about the announcement.

“Maybe while I’ve been talking to you there was a missed call on my phone,” he said.

“That is fantastic news. Get them into arms. That is what I’m about. Maybe if they had been ordered last year they would be in arms already.”

Another five infections were detected in regional Victoria, including one in Greater Geelong, one in Mildura, two in Gippsland and one linked to a V/Line cluster.

All of Victoria’s regional train services were suspended on Sunday after more than 180 drivers and operational staff were placed in isolation following four positive coronavirus tests among workers.

The health department confirmed 107 of Sunday’s new cases have been linked to known outbreaks, with the source of the remaining 285 still under investigation.

It brings the total number of active cases in the state to 3112, and Mr Andrews said 85 per cent are under the age of 50.

“That is the nature of a pandemic of the unvaccinated. That group is still too big for us to be able to open up,” he said.

The state has 147 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 34 of those patients in intensive care units and 28 of them on a ventilator.

Only one was fully vaccinated and isn’t believed to be on a ventilator.

With another 36,534 people getting jabbed at a state-run hub on Saturday, 65.2 per cent of eligible Victorians have now received at least one dose.

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