Vic seeks clarity on AZ eligibility change

·3-min read

Victoria's health department has written to federal authorities seeking clarification on the foreshadowed expansion of the vaccine rollout to Australians under 40.

In a late-night announcement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared all Australians, no matter their age, will be able to get their AstraZeneca jab at GP clinics under an indemnity scheme.

The scheme will protect general practitioners from any litigation when administering AstraZeneca to Australians with informed consent, given Pfizer remains the recommended vaccine for under 60s due to extremely rare instances of blood clots.

In Victoria, most people under 40 have not been eligible for any vaccine, AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

But Health Minister Martin Foley said the expansion of the rollout to anyone under 40 had not been agreed to during Monday night's national cabinet meeting.

"This morning the Department of Health has reached out to the Commonwealth to request advice about whether eligibility requirements are formally changing," he told reporters on Tuesday.

There are reports some GPs have knocked back AstraZeneca consultation requests from Victorians under 40 as they await official advice on the change.

Mr Foley said GPs had raised the issue and he urged those aged 18 to 39 to be patient as authorities iron out indemnity and supply details.

"There's a degree of confusion out there with the GPs as we seek to roll this out" he said.

"As soon as we get all the information and clarification from the Commonwealth, we will implement the system as quickly and as smoothly as we possibly can."

Premier Daniel Andrews earlier noted Victorians aged 18 to 39 won't be able to walk up for their long-awaited shot at mass vaccination hubs across the state.

"It's part of the Commonwealth exclusive side of this," he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

He will consider broadening the change to state-run centres, if supply constraints can be addressed.

"It's not about 'have we got enough nurses, have we got enough physical space?'. They're not limiting factors," Mr Andrews said.

"The only limiting factor at the moment is, do we have enough supply to get into as many arms as we can, as fast as we can?"

More than 18,000 Victorians received a COVID-19 jab at state-run hubs in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning, including roughly 10,000 second doses of Pfizer.

Victoria will declare parts of Queensland and the Perth and Peel regions red zones from 1am on Tuesday, as those areas enter short lockdowns.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said travellers leaving those areas before the cut-off time will be able to enter the state on orange zone permits.

Victorian residents can still return home past the deadline, though must self-isolate at home for 14 days.

As the various outbreaks worsen across the nation, Professor Sutton confirmed the last exposure sites linked to Victoria's Kappa and Delta variant clusters will be removed on Tuesday.

It follows about 200 residents at Southbank's Kings Park apartment complex being cleared to leave isolation overnight after returning negative day-13 tests.

"That doesn't mean the risks of these outbreaks are over. We still need to be sure there's nothing circulating residually ... but we are in a very good position," Prof Sutton said.

Victoria recorded its third consecutive day without a local COVID-19 case on Tuesday, following more than 20,000 tests.

Two returned travellers in hotel quarantine tested positive, as active cases in the state fell to 44.

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