News Coronavirus Victoria recruits 1000 booster vaccinators

Victoria recruits 1000 booster vaccinators

Victoria COVID-19
Victoria will recruit 1000 vaccinators as the state reports 40,127 COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths. Photo: AAP
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Victoria will recruit 1000 people to administer COVID vaccines to bolster its booster rollout, as the health system is further battered by virus-related staff absences.

The state government is encouraging first-year health students and retired nurses to apply for one of the positions, with applications opening next week.

Acting Health Minister James Merlino said the recruitment drive was needed with the number of people eligible for their third dose set to “dramatically” increase in coming weeks.

COVID-19 response deputy secretary Naomi Bromley said training was “absolutely key”, with vaccinators required to complete Commonwealth and Victorian vaccination training.

They will also have to complete virus clinical kills and competencies assessments, and undertake supervised vaccinations before carrying one out themselves.

The new vaccinators will not be responsible for establishing patient consent and will be authorised only to vaccinate people over 18.

Eighteen per cent of Victorians aged over 18 have received their booster.

Meanwhile, Mr Merlino said 6600 health workers were unable to work due to being either COVID-positive or close contacts of positive cases, up from an earlier estimate of 4000 on Monday.

He said the government was considering several measures for the health system, including activating a “code brown” to signal an emergency.

The number of people in Victorian hospitals with COVID-19 has risen to 946, up 85 on Tuesday. They include 112 in intensive care and 31 requiring ventilators.

“We have a health system under considerable strain,” Mr Merlino said.

“Code brown is available at any time, at any hospital, but we are looking at what other measures we need to put in place across our health system.”

A “code brown” can be called when additional hospital capability and capacity is rapidly needed to deal with an influx of patients due to an external emergency.

Victoria reported 21 COVID deaths (including some delayed by several days) and 40,127 infections on Wednesday. Case numbers came from 18,434 from rapid tests and 21,693 from PCR tests.

The state is managing 209,715 active cases.

Triple-zero operators in Victoria are also dealing with unprecedented numbers of calls, as AAP understands COVID is impacting its operational workforce.

Ambulance triple-zero calls are averaging more than 3000 a day, compared to 2400 in August.

The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority, which operates triple-zero, said more than one-in-five callers did not need an emergency ambulance response.

The cumulative impact of people delaying medical help since the start of the pandemic, a rise in mental health-related emergencies, COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations were also blamed for the increased demand.

Ambulance Victoria issued its second code red alert in a week on Tuesday, due to “extreme demand”.

– with AAP