Victoria Covid update: Moderna vaccine to be rolled out as Brett Sutton sounds AFL grand final warning | Victoria

The Moderna vaccine will be rolled out at state-run Covid-19 vaccination sites from next week as Victoria pushes to reach its 80% first-dose target.

The Victorian health minister, Martin Foley, said 32,000 Moderna vaccines had been provided by the commonwealth to be administered at state-run clinics, following supply constraints of the Pfizer vaccine flagged for next month.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that there is a degree of uncertainty for the second half of October for all states and territories,” Foley said.

“That’s why I am very pleased that the commonwealth has allocated Moderna for the first time to the state clinics so as not to lose that momentum.”

Foley said Victoria would reach 80% first doses “within the coming week” slightly behind initial projections that the target would be reached by Sunday 26 September.

Some 76.2% of people aged over 16 have received at least one vaccine dose, and 46.2% had been fully vaccinated.

Once the state reaches 80% first-dose vaccination targets, a small number of restrictions will be eased including the resumption of tennis, golf and other outdoor sports, and the expansion of personal training to five people outdoors provided participants are fully vaccinated.

“We’ve seen a record number of Victorians come forward and get vaccinated over the past week,” Foley said.

“There are always challenges with supply. We’re working through those with the commonwealth, but that’s not a particular issue that will stop us getting to 80% as soon as we possibly can.”

The Moderna doses will be targeted at areas with ongoing clusters including the Palm Plaza pop-up in Dandenong and a number of sites in Melbourne’s south-east, in partnership with Monash Health.

Moderna, an mRNA vaccine, was made available at community pharmacies in the state for anyone aged between 12 and 59 earlier this week.

There were 733 locally acquired cases reported on Friday, and one further death – a woman in her 80s from Moreland.

It was not reported how many cases were linked to current outbreaks or were in isolation throughout their infectious period.

The number was slightly lower than a record 766 cases recorded on Thursday, as the Victorian chief health officer, Brett Sutton, warned Victorians against breaching restrictions on AFL grand final day.

“Victoria deserves to enjoy the day and I hope everyone will. But there is a curfew in place in much of Victoria,” he said.

“We don’t want to see crowds … down at the paddock after the match or on Sunday either in celebration or commiseration. It is those close contacts that put you, your friends and your households at risk.

“Enjoy your fancy cheese boards or whatever way you want to enjoy it at home. Put the barbecue on, but put your iPad up, have your phones on FaceTime, cry and scream and laugh and joke over the internet … but remember … transmissions are occurring in households.”

The northern suburbs continue to bear the brunt of the current Delta outbreak, with more than half of Friday’s cases detected in the region, including 243 in Hume.

There were 27 new cases detected in Victoria’s regions, including one case in Ballarat which may have been infectious in the community.

On Thursday, it was confirmed a protester who was in the Melbourne CBD on Wednesday had since tested positive for Covid-19 and was being treated in hospital.

Foley said whether the protest would become a “superspreader” event would become clear in the coming fortnight.

“We’re already seen the behaviour of these so-called freedom fighters degenerate to the point they’re so brave and strong they abuse vaccine centre workers who are out there supporting the most vulnerable in our community,” Foley said.

“Those people are unrepresentative. The people who are representative of Australia and our best shared values are those people who are going out and getting vaccinated at record levels.”

Sutton dismissed the protestors as a “hodge-podge” living in a “fantasy world” who thought “everything will be solved by taking a horse deworming tablet”.

“Let’s not pretend these are otherwise rational individuals,” he said. “They’re absolutely wacky.

“We’ve seen sentiment within the construction industry that’s very pro-vaccine. The vast majority, more than three-quarters declared they’re vaccinated, intended to be vaccinated or booked in to vaccination.”

A strong police presence had again descended on Melbourne’s CBD on Friday, checking IDs and making arrests as the protests entered their fifth day, however large crowds were yet to have massed.

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