Victoria COVID vaccines have slow start

Victoria’s COVID-19 vaccinations are rolling out slowly, with less than a third of the supplied doses being administered in the first week.

But Jane Holton from the national COVID-19 commission is unfazed by the slow vaccination rate across the nation.

While NSW used 74 per cent of its allocated vaccines in the first week and Tasmania was at 100 per cent, Victoria was only running at 30 per cent.

Queensland similarly had used only 22 per cent of its vaccines.

“(Victoria, NSW and Queensland) all indicated they were going to take it slow and steady to begin with,” Ms Holton told 3AW.

“I do think slow and steady at the beginning is wise. Everyone is learning how to do this. We’ve never done this before.

“So I’m not at all worried by the numbers in this early stage. Obviously we’re looking to see those numbers ramp up this week and into the following week.”

It comes as Victoria had a fourth consecutive day without any new cases.

There are 10 active cases in the state, with 13,525 tests in the previous 24 hours.

On Monday, Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley called on the federal government to be more transparent about its rollout, as the state ramps up its regional vaccination program.

Vaccination hubs were launched in Bendigo and Ballarat on Monday.

There are now six hubs operating in Melbourne and regional Victoria, providing the vaccine to hotel quarantine workers, airport staff, and frontline health staff.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told AAP her state exceeded its vaccination target in the first week.

“As three more vaccination hubs come online this week, we’ll continue to ramp up the rollout to ensure our most vulnerable frontline workers get the vaccine,” she said.

“We’ll continue to roll this out in a safe and effective way so that we maintain confidence in the vaccine.”

Meanwhile, it appears the Victorian government has stuck a deal with minor parties to extend its state of emergency powers for nine months.

A number of amendments to the bill were circulated with upper house MPs on Tuesday morning.

They include a reduction in penalties for young people fined over COVID-19 breaches and an adoption of recommendations from the Victorian Ombudsman’s report on the lockdown of public housing towers last year.

Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam had called for the changes during negotiations with the government.

Labor needs the support of three crossbenchers for the bill to pass the upper house. It will need to come to an agreement by the end of the sitting week on Thursday, as the state of emergency is due to expire on March 15.

Opposition leader in the upper house David Davis has described the amendments as a “sell out by the minor parties”.

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