Mini vaccination clinics will be set up in cafes, shops and gyms as Victoria looks to drive its COVID-19 inoculation coverage even higher.
The first will open at a cafe in Mernda Junction, in Melbourne’s north, on Wednesday, with more to follow.
“These neighbourhood pop-up models are designed to support Victorians to get access to vaccine, Pfizer in particular, in the most convenient, familiar and easy to deal with locations,” Health Minister Martin Foley said on Wednesday.
Mr Foley said the “mini-pops” would help further target at-risk communities.
“Victoria has delivered more vaccines than any other jurisdiction through its state-run clinics, our GPs, our pharmacists, our community health centres,” he said.
“Now, with support from a range of those groups, we’re able to really drive these locations down, particularly at the most at-risk communities to that really local level. And the mini pops are all about making sure that we get those vaccine opportunities in your neighbourhood.”
The extra vaccination push came as Victora recorded its deadliest day of its third wave, the Royal Children’s Hospital revealed a virus scare in its neonatal unit and a regional shire prepares to move out of lockdown.
Victoria had another 1571 local infections and 13 deaths on Wednesday, with the toll from its current outbreak rising 114.
The latest deaths are nine men and four women, aged from their 50s to 90s.
There was also one case acquired overseas.
Wednesday’s results came from a record 79,200 tests processed across Victoria on Tuesday. The state has 19,861 active infections.
More than 38,000 Victorians received a COVID vaccine on Tuesday at a state-run hub.
Visitors to the Royal Children’s Hospital will have to undergo rapid antigen testing after a potentially infectious parent visited the newborn intensive care unit.
Hospital chief executive Bernadette McDonald said a father visited the unit on Thursday and Friday last week and returned a positive result on Monday. He notified the hospital that night.
Of the 29 babies in the unit at the time, two are tier one close contacts and the remainder are tier two. The infants and their families are all isolating, and no transmission to the babies has yet been found.
The state government has also been drafting specific pandemic laws to replace current state of emergency powers, which expire on December 15.
Reason Party MP Fiona Patten said she hoped the laws would give Mr Foley – as Health Minister – the power to sign off public health orders rather than the chief health officer, as in NSW.
“Any legislation needs to be accountable, it needs to be transparent, and I think we’re hearing murmurings that will be the case,” Ms Patten said.
Following concerns poppies will not be able to be sold ahead of Remembrance Day on November 11, Veterans Minister Shaun Lean has confirmed the annual fundraiser will be able to go ahead once the state hits 70 per cent double-dose vaccination.