Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has received his first coronavirus jab.
Professor Sutton was one of the first people to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at the Royal Exhibition Building’s mass vaccination centre on Wednesday morning.
He posted a selfie soon after, saying he “couldn’t be happier”.
Any Victorian eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine under phase 1a or 1b will be able to receive it at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre or Geelong’s former Ford factory from Wednesday.
Eligible Victorians are being urged to make an appointment to get their AstraZeneca jabs. Walk-in options are available, but those with appointments will get priority.
The state has the capacity to immunise between 50,000 and 60,000 people each week and expects to scale up to 100,000 a week within a fortnight.
The Commonwealth has advised Victoria it would receive between 40,000 and 60,000 vaccine doses a week for the next month.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton arrives at the Royal Exhibition Building to receive his AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday.Credit:Tom Burton
Victoria’s COVID-19 Response Commander, Jeroen Weimar, said on Sunday options for expanding the mass-vaccination approach to other parts of the state would be considered in coming weeks.
Professor Sutton told ABC Radio on Wednesday his job placed him in the 1a priority group.
He is 51, and therefore now encouraged to get the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Professor Sutton said he expected 2021 to be a much better year than 2020 but the global situation remained “pretty awful”.
Professor Sutton said it was good that people could enjoy the human interaction they had missed in 2020, but that getting tested, using QR codes to check into venues, practising hand hygiene and wearing masks where required remained critical in preventing a new outbreak.
“Getting your vaccine is the beginning of ending it and Australia can play its role in that regard,” he said. “I really look forward to a year in which we’re all protected by a vaccine.”
Bill Wright, 64, attended the Royal Exhibition Building mass clinic on Wednesday after unsuccessfully trying to secure an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination at his local GP.
“There were no vacancies,” the Greensborough resident said. “I thought this would be quicker.” He was surprised so few people attended the mass vaccination clinic.
Mr Wright said the vaccination would give him peace of mind. “It’s not over yet,” he said.
Heading to the mass vaccination clinic was an easy choice for Bill Paterson.
“A sting in the arm or 12 weeks in intensive care? I know what I choose,” the 59-year-old said.
The nurse and policy worker, who works with people with HIV, rated the experience a nine out of 10.
“It wasn’t busy, and the nurse had a great sense of humour,” he said.
Mr Paterson said having the vaccine would not make him any less vigilant when it comes to COVID-safe practices.
“I will still keep my distance and sanitise my hands.“
He said he didn’t have any qualms about getting the vaccination.
“There’s a remarkable number of unknowns, but when there’s a pandemic situation you have to act because when we know, it’s often too late.”
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