National

Australian state opens 3 more hubs to promote COVID-19 vaccination

Apr 21, 2021

Sydney (Australia), April 21: People in the Australian state of Victoria have more access to the COVID-19 vaccine with the opening of three mass-vaccination hubs on Wednesday.
Two of the hubs are in the state's capital of Melbourne and the other is in the neighboring city of Geelong, which are initially open for people in the Phase 1a and 1b categories for vaccination.
Phase 1a includes hospital staff, ambulance officers and paramedics, aged-care workers and allied health professionals, quarantine and border workers, or workers likely to come into contact with travelers.
Phase 1b includes police, fire and emergency services workers, people aged over 70, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged over 55 and adults with underlying medical conditions or disabilities.
The hubs only provide the AstraZeneca vaccine, though rare cases of blood clotting made its safety under question and led to the pausing of its use for people under 50 years old earlier this month.
Victoria state's Health Minister Martin Foley said those issues had been resolved and stressed that there was "a renewed sense of urgency to get the vaccination program done."
"It's up to us all to make sure that we do our part to start getting out of this... by getting as many vaccinations as quickly and as safely into the arms of Victorians as we can," Foley said.
The state reportedly has enough vaccine to administer 100,000 jabs within the next fortnight.
Meanwhile, the Victorian government announced on Wednesday it would spend 50 million Australian dollars (about 38.59 million U.S. dollars) to help develop mRNA vaccine technology. This initiative would mean mRNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer and Moderna shots, could be produced in Australia for the first time.
Victoria state's Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters on Wednesday that the money would be spent in partnership with universities and medical manufacturers over the next two years, and it is hoped the mRNA manufacturing facilities would be based in Melbourne.
Source: Xinhua