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Minggu, 21 Maret 2021

Another day of zero new COVID-19 cases as next stage of vaccination program begins - The Age

No new coronavirus cases have been recorded in Victoria for the 24th day in a row as GPs across the state start to vaccinate the public as part of the second phase of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

There is just one active case remaining in the state, after dropping from two on Sunday. The person still infected arrived in Victoria from overseas.

The mass vaccination centre at the Royal Exhibition Building.

The mass vaccination centre at the Royal Exhibition Building.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

There were 9393 test results received on Sunday.

Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is set to begin on Monday, the largest phase of the program so far. An estimated 6.13 million people are set to vaccinated during this phase.

People aged over 70, those with an underlying medical condition or disability, workers in critical professions like police officers, and healthcare workers not already vaccinated are among those who will be immunised.

The initial vaccine rollout, phase 1a, targeted quarantine workers, front-line health workers, and aged and disability care staff.

On Sunday evening, the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the Australian AstraZeneca vaccine which was being manufactured by CSL in Melbourne.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said this was a critical step, providing secure access to 50 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is the fundamental approval which allows Australia to proceed with our national vaccination strategy based on 50 million doses of Australian made vaccines,” he said.

The TGA said specific approval of the locally-manufactured vaccine was needed to ensure it had the exact same composition, performance and quality as the European version.

“Today’s approval is a critical and very exciting milestone in Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a TGA spokesperson said on Sunday evening.

CSL will be ready to start delivering doses once each batch has been tested and approved. Mr Hunt expected that to happen in the next few days.

About 200,000 doses will be delivered to GPs this week, with that number rising to 400,000 doses across more than 4000 GPs over the coming month, a spokeswoman for federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.

Dr Bernard Shiu’s medical practice in the Geelong suburb of Newcomb is one of the Victorian GP clinics which will start vaccinating Australians from Monday.

Dr Bernard Shiu and his employees are ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to patients at their Geelong clinic from Monday.

Dr Bernard Shiu and his employees are ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to patients at their Geelong clinic from Monday.Credit:Wayne Taylor

Administering the vaccine takes a total of 23 steps, each performed as diligently as the last, for Dr Shiu and his team to deliver their first doses.

Every vial contains eight doses – meaning if a patient does not show up for an appointment, Dr Shiu’s team must scramble to bring someone else in before the vial goes bad.

“The requirements for delivering these vaccines are very specific,” said Dr Shiu, who is also the deputy chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Victoria.

“It’s definitely not the flu vaccine ... We have to make sure we get it right.”

The federal government’s vaccine booking website also continues to frustrate a number of GPs, with some saying on Sunday that patients continue to deluge them with calls despite no appointments being available for weeks.

“It’s a nightmare to do it on the phone. Every second call is for this stuff. Every message we have on social media is ‘please do not call us’,” said Melbourne GP Dr Todd Cameron.

With Liam Mannix, Rachel Clun

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2021-03-21 21:08:58Z
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