SOUTH-WEST residents are being urged to be patient as the region awaits vaccine supply for a community-wide roll-out.
The limited supply of vaccines sent to the region were being administered to priority patients, South West Healthcare chief executive Craig Fraser said.
"Like many other health services, South West Healthcare eagerly awaits the arrival of a secure and steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines to commence our planned comprehensive community vaccination roll-out," he said.
"In the meantime, a very limited supply of AstraZeneca vaccine is allowing us to vaccinate people the government considers more vulnerable.
"This target group, known as 1a and 1b, includes adults aged 70 and above, adults aged 50 and above who have an underlying medical condition, and workers aged 50 and above who are volunteering with at-risk people such as palliative care patients in hospitals and care homes."
In the past week, 460 local people in phase 1a and 1b have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca at the Warrnambool vaccination centre, formerly the Sam's Warehouse site.
A further 600 people will be vaccinated this week.
The by-appointment-only vaccinations will be provided at the centre tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, and by SWH clinics at Camperdown's Killara Centre tomorrow and Friday.
'We're encouraging people in the 1a and 1b target groups to take up the opportunity to be COVID-immunised," Mr Fraser said.
"If you fit the 1a or 1b criteria and are keen to be vaccinated you can register your interest by leaving your name and phone number on our SWH vax line: 0435 252 294 or 0435 514 131."
From Wednesday, April 21, Victorians eligible under phases 1a and 1b of the roll-out will be able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at three of Victoria's high-volume vaccination centres located at the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the former Ford factory in Geelong.
The government has lifted the pause on the administration of AstraZeneca to eligible people under the age of 50 years who choose to receive this vaccine, from Wednesday.
Where supply is available, eligible people aged under 50 can also continue to receive the Pfizer vaccine through workforce-based appointments, which has already seen over 160,000 Victorians vaccinated.
Victoria has recorded four new casesof coronavirussince yesterday; all are in recently returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.
There are no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, marking the state's 52nd consecutive day recording no locally acquired cases.
The four new cases are three men and one woman.
The total number of active cases in Victoria is now 14.
Overs 50s may join vaccine roll-out sooner
People aged 50 and over could be brought forward in the coronavirus vaccine roll-out as Australia tries to ramp up its spluttering immunisation program.
The next phase of the roll-out will expand jabs to people aged between 50 and 70 but is yet to start with some of the most vulnerable people still waiting.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to discuss bringing the second phase forward at a national cabinet meeting of state and territory leaders on Monday.
"The option of bringing forward over 50s is being discussed but I will work that through with the premiers and chief ministers about how that can be achieved in the most orderly way," he told reporters in Sydney.
Mr Morrison said both cohorts could be vaccinated at the same time without lessening the focus on vulnerable people.
"My gaze will not shift from that group," he said.
The federal government is also open to larger vaccination programs for people aged 50 to 70 on top of rolling out jabs through general practices around the country.
National cabinet is switching to two meetings a week after the roll-out was plunged into disarray following advice the AstraZeneca vaccine should be only used for over 50s.
Australia has administered about 1.5 million jabs in the past two months, while the coronavirus-ravaged United States has given at least one dose to more than 130 million people.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack defended the pace of the roll-out.
"I know where I'd rather live," he told the ABC on Monday.
"We haven't had to have mass graves like they've been digging elsewhere. We haven't had the case rates, the death rates and the job losses. We've done very, very well."
A federal proposal to allow home quarantine for vaccinated Australians returning from overseas will also be discussed at national cabinet.
Premiers and chief ministers have resisted shifting away from using hotels to house people for two weeks on entering Australia.
The prime minister said any shift to hotel quarantine would happen over months, while conceding not all jurisdictions could sign up.
Reopening international borders will be weighed up against the risks of increasing case numbers.
Extremely rare but serious blood clots led to health authorities changing advice on the AstraZeneca jab a little more than a week ago.
A 48-year-old woman who died from blood-clotting last week was the third case linked to the vaccine in Australia, with the first two still in hospital.
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