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Victoria has recorded two deaths and 1069 new coronavirus cases on Sunday as demonstrators prepare to fill Melbourne’s CBD to protest COVID-19 vaccines.
Anti-vaccine and lockdown protests are expected to begin from noon as questions remain over who is profiting from the ongoing protests.
More than 300 people are in hospital suffering from coronavirus, with 74 active cases in intensive care units and 37 people on ventilators.
About 67,312 tests were processed yesterday and, according to the Health Department’s tweet on Sunday, the total number of active COVID-19 cases was 11,393 people.
As Victoria’s daily coronavirus cases again surpassed the 1000 mark on Sunday, health authorities were investigating another seven suspected cases of the Omicron variant – what could be the state’s first cases of community transmission of the Omicron strain.
On Saturday, contact tracers were tracking the steps of a person who tested positive for the new strain after being in the community while infectious.
The news also comes as almost two million more Australians will be eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot after the federal government announced on Saturday night it would reduce the gap between second shots and boosters from six months to five months.
Around 1.75 million more people will be able to access a booster from either Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine shot.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the decision was backed up by research and would help reduce the most serious effects of COVID-19.
“A booster dose, five or more months after the second dose, will make sure that the protection from the primary course is even stronger and longer-lasting and should help prevent the spread of the virus,” Mr Hunt said.
“Data from Israel shows boosters supporting reductions in the rate of infection in eligible age groups, severe disease in those aged over 40 years and deaths in those over 60 years.”
Low stimulus vaccination wing opened by Austin Health
Melbourne’s Austin Health has set up a dedicated low stimulus clinic at its new Flanders Wing Vaccination Clinic which is designed to help people with autism, ADHD and severe anxiety or phobias get vaccinated.
Austin Health’s clinical lead of vaccination programs Janine Trevillyan said the clinic is a last resort for many people who struggled to get their vaccinations at larger-scale operations.
“I think that it was for a number of them, their last chance to get vaccinated,” Dr Trevillyan told ABC Weekend Breakfast on Sunday.
“That they had been really desperate and worried about catching COVID in the community.
“Some of these people have other medical conditions which places them at risk and so it had been incredibly stressful.
“So being able to then come through the clinic, have a space that’s quieter where they weren’t feeling pressured really gave them the time to just get that process done.”
The clinic will operate on Fridays and bookings need to be made through the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services vaccination hotline on 1800 675 398.
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