The Victorian government has shortened the minimum interval required between second and third COVID-19 vaccine doses, to increase booster rates.
The reduced COVID booster interval timeframe of three months, recommended by Victoria’s public health team, means 1.2 million more Victorians are now eligible for their third dose.
It’s the latest in a series of shortened intervals that have been recommended due to the severity of the current outbreak, despite some data showing shorter intervals reduces vaccine efficacy.
Read our expert’s guide to treating yourself at home if you contract COVID-19 here.
Australia’s TGA found that doses of AstraZeneca could be safely given as little as four weeks apart, although that study was largely focusing on the interval between first and second doses.
The government’s health advice on the minimum interval for booster shots is that four weeks can be applied in “exceptional circumstances”, but the federal government’s website still says people should wait four months before their third vaccine dose.
Once again, the regulation changes are largely targeted at decreasing transmission between young people, many of whom will be approaching three months since their second vaccination doses over the next few weeks.
To support an anticipated increase in demand this weekend, more workers, more cubicles, more walk-up capacity and 60,000 more appointments will be available at key vaccination centres.
Hours at major hubs including Sandown, Bendigo and La Trobe University have all been extended specifically for the blitz, which will run from this Friday to next Monday.
Walk-up vaccinations will be available and are encouraged at a number of state-run centres, including:
- Royal Exhibition Building (walk-up access available 8:00am to 8:00pm daily)
- Latrobe University Bundoora (walk-up 8:00am to 8:00pm)
- Sandown Racecourse (walk-up 9:00am to 6:30pm Saturday and Sunday)
- Dandenong Plaza (walk-up 9:00am to 5:00pm Saturday and Sunday)
- Frankston’s Bayside Centre (walk-up 9:30am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday)
- Sunshine Hospital (walk-up 8:00am to 8:00pm)
- Bendigo Vaccination Hub (walk-up 9:00am to 8:00pm)
- Ballarat Mercure (walk-up 8:30am to 3:00pm Sunday)
The effort will be supported by extra cubicles and the deployment of dozens of extra vaccinators. Hot weather contingencies are in effect, including shade and bottled water supply at key sites.
The rest of Victoria’s large state-run network will also be operating, with thousands of appointments available. All sites except Dandenong Plaza and Ballarat Mercure will also offer both Pfizer and Moderna doses.
“This is a big push. Thousands of appointments are available, walk-in capacity has been expanded, opening hours have been extended, and more vaccinators will be on the floor,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“If you got your second dose in October or earlier, now’s the time to come along to one of our major state-run centres this weekend and get your third, to protect yourself and the community for the busy year ahead.”
Visit the coronavirus website here for locations, hours and access information before walking up. Bookings can also be made online here, or by calling 1800 675 398. Those who want to get their third dose at a local GPs or pharmacy can also book through the online clinic finder here.