1.3 million calls and 50,000 hits per minute: Victoria’s ‘extraordinary’ vaccine response

1.3 million calls and 50,000 hits per minute: Victoria’s ‘extraordinary’ vaccine response

Photo via Arts Centre Melbourne/MSO
Words by Lucas Radbourne

Victorians are flooding to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the state government widened Pfizer eligiblity for people aged between 16 and 29-years-old.

New South Wales and the ACT have boasted some of the fastest vaccination rates in the world over the past week, and now Victoria is catching up after Pfizer eligibility was widened at 7am Wednesday morning.

Victoria’s Covid-19 deputy commander Naomi Bromley said that the government’s COVID-19 vaccination booking website is receiving 50,000 visitors every minute, and their phone line has been rung 1.3 million times this morning alone.

However, she said people are still able to make bookings despite the incredible response.

“Tens of thousands of Victorians are trying to book in right now,” she told News.com.au. “So it is slow. It is busy. Please be patient. Please be kind to our staff.

“But people are getting through and making those bookings, which is really fantastic. There are still plenty of appointments available. We have had an extraordinary response to the changes to eligibility.

“This change makes the message really clear – every Victorian 16 years and over is now eligible to be vaccinated.”


What you need to know

  • 25,000 bookings had been made within two hours of the expanded eligibility
  • There are 450,000 additional Pfizer doses available
  • People between 17 and 60-years-old will now be given a choice of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

Today’s response comes with good news that Victoria’s number of new daily COVID-19 cases has dropped for the second day in a row.

Victoria reported 45 new COVID-19 cases overnight, with 14 in the community throughout their infectious period. Contact tracers have linked 36 of those cases to existing outbreaks, leaving nine mysteries so far.

Victoria’s entertainment sector have jumped on the vaccine bandwagon, releasing a range of campaign graphics to share on social media, reminiscent of the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley told media that the system was coping with an “absolutely extraordinary level of influx of bookings”.

“We’ve seen the system put under substantial pressure but, at the same time, we’ve also seen huge numbers of bookings being made,” he said.

“What is fantastic is to see so many people who have become eligible under the announcements made by the Premier yesterday want to be part of recovery of our way out of this pandemic through the vaccination program.”

You can book your COVID-19 vaccinations online here or by calling 1800 675 398.