Covid Victoria: 17,636 new cases, jabs for children available from Monday

By on January 5, 2022 0

Children between the ages of five and 11 will be eligible for vaccinations starting next week after a technical issue delayed rollout, while 10 million more rapid antigen tests are on their way to Victoria.

Victoria recorded 17,636 new cases and 11 deaths on Wednesday.

And hospitalizations have increased 15% in the past 24 hours, with 591 people currently hospitalized – up from 516.

Among those hospitalized, 106 are in intensive care and 20 people are on ventilators.

It comes as the state government plans to introduce additional restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.

Victoria has secured an additional 10 million rapid antigen tests to roll out to vulnerable people and those who come into contact with Covid cases.

Acting Prime Minister Jacinta Allan confirmed on Wednesday that the government’s total order has risen to RAT 44 million.

The first order is expected in the next week.

The state government is also providing a “small number” of rapid antigen tests to people queuing up at testing centers.

People lining up at centers in Cranbourne, Coolaroo, Deakin University’s Burwood Campus and Melbourne Showgrounds could receive RATs if they are asymptomatic as part of a pilot program to reduce pressure and time waiting at the PCR test sites.

“The stock is strictly limited. We strongly advise against traveling for the purpose of getting a rapid antigen test at a PCR testing center, as there may not be one available, ”the health ministry said.


Children aged 5 to 11 will be able to be vaccinated against the Covid from next Monday, reservations will open online or via the hotline from Wednesday 1 p.m.

It arises after technical difficulties caused a delay in updating the online reservation system.

Acting Prime Minister Jacinta Allan said the deployment would “prepare children to go back to school” in the coming weeks.

The 18 state-run vaccination centers will administer the vaccine – one third of the dose given to over 12s – in designated nature and animal-themed areas, to provide children with a “protective forest” against the virus.

Meanwhile, teachers, parents and doctors have called on state and federal governments to provide more certainty regarding the deployment.

Federal Covid-19 task force commander Lt. Gen. John Frewen confirmed on Tuesday that there were “no issues” with the vaccine supply, but many doctors were forced to turn relatives away impatient because they still have not received confirmation of the supply.

Prominent GP Mukesh Haikerwal said he plans to start the deployment over the weekend, but will not accept any reservations until the pediatric doses of Pfizer are in the fridge.

“Some (GPs) will take a punt, but others who have been burned on previous occasions will wait until the vaccines are physically in the refrigerator,” he said.

Dr Haikerwal said the mass confusion could have been avoided if governments had informed doctors before making public announcements.

“They want to announce it because it looks really good, but nobody has a chance to prepare for it. Just to say that something is going to happen doesn’t mean it will happen, ”he said.

While the online reservation system for state-run clinics was being tested on Tuesday evening, Victoria Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said the technical issue would not delay deployment.

“I know that many parents will be very keen to get their children vaccinated so that they can join the rest of us and face a future with more confidence,” he said.

But key stakeholders have called on governments to urgently ensure that children are immunized before they return to school.

The President of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Education Union, Meredith Peace, said: “Education staff, parents and students need clarity from federal and state governments regarding the logistics of the deployment. … And the confidence of the federal government that the supply will be available when and where it is needed. ”.

Parents Victoria Executive Director Gail McHardy said parents should be made aware of when and where children can get the vaccine to ensure a “smooth and anxiety-free process.” She said it would help ensure a good start to the school year.

The federal government has ordered approximately 5.5 million pediatric doses of Pfizer for Australia’s 2.3 million children aged 5 to 11.


Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese calls on the Morrison government to make rapid antigen testing free.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly presented a plan to the National Cabinet on Wednesday afternoon to make direct cash payments to low-income people to purchase up to five rapid antigen tests.

Mr Morrison is resisting the pressure to make testing free, despite the scarcity of kits and their increasing prices.

Read the full story here


The decision to grant Novak Djokovic a medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open has been called “appalling” by former Australian Medical Association vice-president Stephen Parnis.

“I don’t care how good a tennis player he is. If he refuses to be vaccinated, he should not be allowed in, ”Parnis tweeted.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley has said Novak Djokovic will arrive in Victoria on Wednesday.

Mr Tiley said he understood the anger expressed by the Victorians, especially over Novak’s public stance against vaccinations.

But he declined to say exactly what exemption was granted to allow Djokovic to travel under it.

“It’s ultimately up to him to discuss with the public (his) condition and why he received an exemption,” Tiley said.

In total, there were 26 medical exemption requests – “a handful” were issued.


Hundreds of businesses are closing, delaying reopening for the year and cutting trading hours and services to manage staff affected by Covid.

Richmond business owner Richard Konarik said it was a day-to-day proposition as to whether his Frederick’s Grocers would trade.

“(It) depends on our ability to have the staff and get the supply of the products we need,” he said.

One employee left with Covid, while others isolated themselves and rushed for testing. He had to isolate himself twice.

Mr Konarik said he was self-imposed for months to avoid Covid and reduce the risk of his Bridge Rd business closing.

“I’m worried about ordering stock and then having to shut it down and throw it away,” he said. “There are already shortages of some items because the people who make or transport them have Covid or are isolating themselves. It’s like being on a tightrope.

He got 50 quick tests and posted them on his Facebook page Tuesday for $ 10 each. The phone kept ringing.

“We had to turn off the phones. Five hundred people showed up, ”he said.

The Toscano grocer has cut trading hours at its Kew, Hawksburn and Richmond stores from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to manage staff.

Richmond’s popular Pillar of Salt cafe is take out only due to understaffing.

Pubs such as the Spread Eagle and the Precinct have had to close so staff can isolate themselves, while the popular Stokehouse restaurant in St Kilda, like many other businesses, has reduced its opening hours. to manage.


Victoria Ambulance declared a rare “code red” overnight after the service experienced “extremely high demand” for ambulances across the city.

Patients were told just after midnight that there would be “probably” a delay for an ambulance to reach them.

The Herald Sun understands that the state’s ambulance system is virtually at a standstill due to massive Covid-related delays in hospital emergency departments, as well as a shortage of paramedics.

It is understood that around 500 Victoria Ambulance paramedics are now on sick leave, many of whom either have Covid, are close contacts of cases, or are awaiting testing so they can be cleared to return to work.

Code Red came as Victoria registered 14,020 new Covid cases on Tuesday, nearly double the previous day’s total.

However, the statement was degraded at 3 a.m.

A spokesperson for Ambulance Victoria said at that time “the demand for ambulance services (had) decreased”.

“Our priority is to provide care to Victorians who need life-saving assistance,” he said.

“We thank the community for helping us save triple-0 in an emergency.”

A code red was avoided in November 2021, but was declared during the Black Saturday bushfires, during the stormy asthma episode of 2016 and once in December 2020.

Victorian-era Ambulance Union Acting Secretary General Olga Bartasek said the situation overnight must have been “serious enough” for a Code Red to be declared.

She said it was not just the record number of Covid cases that triggered the Code Red, but the fact that some Victorians were afraid to go to the emergency room or could not make an appointment with their GP.

“It’s kind of Covid, plus the fact that there is just an extraordinary demand on the ambulance service for other general cases,” Ms Bartasek told 3AW.

The acting secretary-general also added that the large number of employees on leave meant fewer paramedics were on the road, with the impact of Code Red being felt for days on end.

“We go into the weekends and usually obviously people are more numerous on the weekends and accidents can happen,” she said.

“To try to flatten the numbers, it’s not looking good for the next few days.”

Victorians are advised to call the nurse on duty (1300 60 60 24) or see their local GP if their illness is not an emergency.


The United States recorded more than one million cases of Covid-19 on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as the Omicron variant spread at a dizzying rate.

There were 1,080,211 new cases in the country, a world record, as the number of cases doubled from the previous week.

It comes a day after the top US pandemic adviser Anthony Fauci said the country was experiencing “almost a vertical increase” in Covid-19 cases, adding that the peak could be only a few weeks away.

The highly mutated Omicron strain – the most transmissible to date – accounted for about 59% of national cases in the United States during the week ending December 25, according to government modeling.

Read the latest international news from Covid here.