Vaccine blitz could see Victoria hit crucial milestone early

The head of the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association has warned the state’s health system is at “breaking point” weeks ahead of a projected lockdown lift.

Dr Roderick McRae said hospital staff were “stressed” and facing burn-out.

“I just encourage people to get the vaccination,” he said.

Victoria’s AMA head has urged people to get vaccinated. (Alex Ellinghausen)

“Should have been organised six months ago, but that’s the case.”

And he slammed the state government’s goal of 70 per cent first dose vaccination levels for the re-opening.

“That’s some artificial number from when we thought we could open, when we had a handful of numbers around – when 70 per cent have a single dose,” Dr McRae said.

“That is as useful as having one shoe in a steeplechase.”

He said Victorians would have to continue to be “extremely careful” even after reaching the 80 percent double dose vaccine level.

“I don’t want to be so pessimistic, but people just need to be cautious and sensible and keep going, because we are that close to being able to get on top of this,” he said.

Victoria is braced for more bad news today after yesterday’s unwelcome national record tally of new COVID-19 cases.

But Premier Daniel Andrews has insisted the state will re-open on schedule at the end of the month, with a vaccine blitz underway to lift Victoria to the crucial 70 per cent mark.
Melbourne is set to exit lockdown on schedule despite record case numbers. (Fairfax Media)

“We are doing everything that we can to deliver the roadmap,” Mr Andrews said yesterday.

“I have no advice on altering anything on the roadmap.”

It has been predicted that the state will reach that level a couple of days ahead of predictions on October 24.

But also rising faster than the initial modelling are hospitalisation numbers, with the Australian Medical Association warning that intensive care beds will become increasingly hard to find.

This comes amid calls to overhaul Victoria’s quarantine regime, with about 100,000 people in the state currently in self-isolation as close contacts of existing cases.

Just a day after senior students returned to the classroom, one Melbourne school will be forced back into online learning after a student tested positive to COVID-19.

The fully-vaccinated Year 12 student at Roxburgh College sat the General Achievement Test yesterday.

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