Shepparton News

Second dose wait reduced

- By Darren Linton

The interval between doses of the AstraZenec­a COVID-19 vaccine has been halved to six weeks in Victoria, in a drive to ramp up inoculatio­n rates and curb virus transmissi­on.

With thousands of Greater Shepparton residents expected to be released from quarantine over the next few days GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp urged people to book a vaccinatio­n.

More than 1000 vaccinatio­ns were delivered at the GV Health hub at the McIntosh Centre yesterday, but Mr Sharp said the overall vaccinatio­n numbers were lower than he would like them to be in Greater Shepparton.

Based on the latest data, Buloke Shire in north-west Victoria has nearly half its population fully vaccinated.

Acting chief health officer Ben Cowie announced the change on a day when Victoria recorded its highest number of new cases since August last year.

Professor Cowie said reducing the time limit was a decision made on balance given the rising case numbers, and that people who had already had one dose of AstraZenec­a could now come earlier for a second dose.

‘‘If you’re sitting at seven weeks, eight weeks, nine weeks (between doses), go and get your double dose now,’’ he said.

Prof Cowie said the change, effective immediatel­y, as well as additional supplies of the Pfizer vaccine from the Federal Government, would help the state reach its immunisati­on targets faster.

The wait time between AstraZenec­a doses is now the same as for Pfizer. The Australian advisory group on vaccinatio­ns recommende­d a shorter interval of four to eight weeks between AstraZenec­a doses in outbreak settings.

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