The Victorian government has urged eligible Victorians to get their booster shots as the state introduces new pandemic restrictions and vaccine mandates on Jan. 10
Night clubs, pubs and bars are set to close from Jan. 12 at 11.59 p.m. onwards, although dancefloors at wedding venues will stay open. For hospitality venues, a density quotient of one person per two square meters applies.
The Andrews government also strongly recommended Victorians see if they could work and study from home to control the spread of the virus.
Additionally, booster vaccines are now mandated for workers in healthcare, aged care, disability, emergency services, prison, quarantine accommodation and food distribution.
Retail supermarket staff are currently not included in the mandate, and the mandatory vaccination requirement will not apply to workers with a valid medical exemption.
Workers eligible for the third dose before Jan. 12 have until Feb. 12 to get their third dose.
Those that are not yet eligible will need to get it within three months and two weeks after their second mandatory dose.
Speaking to the reporters at the press conference on Jan. 11, the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews strongly urged eligible Victorians to get the booster shots.
He stated that only by getting a third shot is one prevented from getting infected and urged eligible Victorians to get their booster shots,
“At the moment, two doses are protecting the vast majority of people from serious illness, but it’s only with three doses that you’ll be prevented not just from a serious illness but from getting this virus, the Omicron variant and therefore giving it to others,” Andrews said.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on Dec. 24, 2021, stated that while it appears that the third dose with an mRNA vaccine has the potential to increase efficacy for Omicron to 86.2 percent against symptomatic infection and 98.2 percent against severe infection, there is not enough data to show if a booster dose would prevent transmission of the Omicron variant.
“The effectiveness of a booster dose to prevent onward transmission of Omicron from infected persons and the duration of protection afforded by a booster are currently unclear,” ATAGI said. ” It is expected a reduction in symptomatic infection will parallel a reduction in transmission.”
However, ATAGI concluded that the booster shots did offer some protection from the onset of severe COVID-19 disease, declaring it was “reasonable to assume that protection against severe disease is likely to be enhanced by a booster dose, particularly in those with risk factors for severe COVID-19.”
The Epoch Times reached out to the Victorian government to clarify the premier’s remarks but did not receive a reply at the time of publication.
Children’s Vaccination Clinics
Meanwhile, with the commencement of vaccination for 5 to 11-year-old children on Monday, the state government has promised a 4 million grant to GPs and pharmacies to set up mini-vaccination clinics at schools in areas that need more uptake.
Vaccinations will take place after school with the intention of providing children with the familiarity and comfort of their own school environment.
In addition, the state government will roll out 30 pop-up vaccination clinics at primary schools across the state; these clinics will be open to all children from 5 to 11 years of age and not just restricted to those attending the school hosting the clinic.
As of Jan. 11, 37,994 new cases have been recorded in Victoria.
Hospitalisations are also at their highest level since the Delta outbreak last year. Currently, there are 861 hospitalisations, with numbers expected to grow as compared to 851 hospitalisations during the peak of the Delta outbreak.
Victorian hospitals have reported severe understaffing, and healthcare workers are under extreme pressure as hospitalisation numbers climb up.
Omar Khorshid, president of the Australian Medical Association, said to Nine Network on Jan. 10 that “the staff are really struggling with nurses being asked to work extra shifts repeatedly. People are being pulled back from holidays.”
Acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie from the Doherty Institute said to Nine Network on Jan. 10 that the pressure on the health sector is going to continue to increase.
“This virus is milder than Delta, just with the sheer scale of transmissions that we’re seeing our hospital pressure is going to continue to increase to levels that we’ve not seen throughout this pandemic.”