Kyabram Free Press

Astrazenec­a second dose wait halved

- By Anna Mcguiness

The number of weeks between doses of Astrazenec­a has been halved at state-run hubs.

Instead of waiting 12 weeks for a second dose, Victorians can now access it six weeks after their first shot, bringing it in line with the dosage interval for the Pfizer vaccine.

Acting chief health officer Professor Ben Cowie said early clinical trials indicated there was a higher degree of protection with 12 weeks between doses, but right now it was important to get double doses completed sooner rather than later.

"We know with the Delta variant, two doses are critically important for getting those high levels of protection — 70 per cent protection against symptomati­c illness and 90 per cent protection against a severe illness and hospitalis­ation," he said.

"It's really is important that we get through the second doses."

Prof Cowie said the risk benefit was clearly in favour of dropping the interval between doses, to find "balance between optimal efficacy and getting as many second doses into people as we possibly can".

On Friday, September 3,

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews encouraged people to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

He said it was likely there would be lockouts, rather than lockdowns, in the future as the state begins to re-open at 70 and 80 per cent vaccinatio­n rates.

"What will become a bigger part of our response is a lockout of many venues for those who are not vaccinated," he said.

"That might seem a bit harsh, but I've said this before and I will make the point again, I am not going to lock the whole state down to protect people who would not protect themselves.

"I think if you are not vaccinated, and you could be, the chances of you booking a ticket at a sporting event, going to a pub, going to different places, will be very limited."

Mr Andrews also spoke of work being done in preparatio­n for the state to re-open.

This included assessment­s of the way schools were ventilated and use of air filters for rooms that did not have sufficient airflow.

▯ To find a vaccinatio­n provider in Echuca-moama visit covid-vaccine.healthdire­ct.­y

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