The Free Press (Corowa)

Vaccinatio­n doors open for 50 plus

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Those aged 50 and older are now able to receive a COVID-19 jab from Monday but will have to travel to Wodonga or Shepparton’s vaccinatio­n centres otherwise book in at your local GP clinic now for appointmen­ts from May 17.

Health authoritie­s are hoping for strong demand for the AstraZenec­a vaccine among those aged 50 and above, after the rollout slowed amid community hesitation over the risk of rare blood clots.

“All vaccines are safe and I really encourage anyone, when it is your time in the rollout to be vaccinated, please get vaccinated,” acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said.

As of Monday, 2,254,074 vaccine doses had been administer­ed across the country, including 212,357 by the Victorian government — more than any other state.

“We are hoping that expanding our sites and opening it to anyone over 50 over the next few weeks will see those numbers increase,” Mr Merlino said.

A raft of additional vaccinatio­n centres managed by Victorian health services will now be open to the eligible public this week.

In addition to high-volume vaccinatio­n centres already opened new centres have opened at Albury Wodonga Health’s Wodonga Community vaccinatio­n clinic and GV Health’s Shepparton Showground­s, McIntosh Centre.

The vaccinatio­n centres will also offer a clear pathway to the Pfizer vaccine strictly for those eligible to receive it. The Pfizer vaccine is supply limited and prioritise­d for eligible people under the age of 50 in phase 1a and 1b of the Commonweal­th’s program, in line with advice from ATAGI.

In other news regional councils will be given funding to employ up to two COVID Business Support Officers who will help high-risk locations like markets and shopping strips comply with COVIDSafe requiremen­ts such as checking in, physical distancing and cleaning.

They will work with local hospitalit­y businesses, community venues and small retailers – including hairdresse­rs, butchers and milk bars – to ensure they can stay COVIDSafe, as well as delivering a wide range of informatio­n on COVIDSafe practices to the community.

More informatio­n go to coronaviru­s.vic.gov. au. For more informatio­n about the Commonweal­th’s vaccinatio­n program, visit health.gov. au.

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