Covid-19 vaccine hubs announced

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The first Victorians to receive the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine will be able to do so at nine Melbourne and regional Victorian hospitals, following a state government announcement last week.

The first doses of the long-anticipated vaccine are expected to arrive and be rolled out in mid-to-late February at a long list of health service providers, however, Eastern Health did not make the list.

The nine vaccine delivery hubs include Western Health, Austin Health, Monash Health, Barwon Health, Goulburn Valley Health, Latrobe Health, Bendigo Health, Ballarat Health and Albury-Wodonga Health.

A spokesperson for Eastern Health said it is still early days, with more detail on the vaccination roll-out still to be determined.

“Eastern Health is part of the North Eastern Hub, which is led by Austin Health and also includes Northern Health. While more detail on the vaccination roll-out is still to be determined, we don’t anticipate this structure will have any adverse impact on the public getting access to the vaccine,” the spokesperson said.

The nine hubs will store and distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and are required to store and transport doses at the ultracold temperature of -70°C.

Quarantine and border workers will be among the first eligible to receive the vaccine during Phase 1a, as well as front-line health care workers, hospital staff working in Covid wards, emergency department and ICU staff, those working in GP respiratory clinics and paramedics.

Aged care workers and disability care staff and residents are also among the first groups eligible for the vaccine.

Minister for Health Martin Foley said “getting Victorians who are most at risk of infection vaccinated as soon as possible will protect the health of those vaccinated, as well as their families and the whole community”.

“The vaccine is safe, effective and free – and it will be provided first to those Victorians who are most at risk of infection or serious illness, such as people in aged care and our front-line health staff,” Mr Foley said.