Bendigo Health is crying out for the federal government to ramp up the roll-out of coronavirus vaccination supply, saying it only has enough doses to cover bookings for the next 10 days.
Chairman Bob Cameron criticised the federal government's roll-out in a press conference on Monday and said about 370 central Victorians who had booked in to receive a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine have had their appointments cancelled due to supply shortages.
"What we are having, all the states, all mass vaccination centres and all GPs, we're all having this problem of not having the supply of vaccine," Mr Cameron said.
"As you know the federal government put most of their eggs in the AstraZeneca basket and that has caused problems in terms of rulings about who should or shouldn't get AstraZeneca in terms of preference.
"Last week there was a change, from people over 50 getting AstraZeneca to people over 60.
"As a result, we've had people who were booked in at this mass vaccination centre, nearly 400 of them, and we've had to tell them that we can't meet their shot.
"The reason for that being we don't have the Pfizer. We do hope we get more AstraZeneca soon but we are uncertain about Pfizer. When we do have supply, they will be at the front of the queue."
The Mollison Street Mass Vacination Centre has the capacity to administer up to 1000 vaccinations a day, seven days a week. At the moment, the centre is averaging about 800 each day due to the supply limitations.
For central Victorians who have received their first vaccination, Mr Cameron assured their second dose had been factored into the number of vaccinations left.
For those aged 50-59 who had received their first dose of AstraZeneca, Bendigo Health had been informed by the federal government that those people would need to receive a second dose of AstraZeneca.
Mr Cameron said those people "feel a little bit cheated" due to the increased age guidance for the vaccine.
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"The Commonwealth roll-out has significant problems and has had along the way," he said.
"The Commonwealth government said from the outset that it would be in charge of the roll-out, even though vaccination roll-outs are not their normal business.
"We were promised that we as Australians would be at the front of the queue, the simple fact is that Australia, as a nation in the western world, is one of the slowest when it comes to the rollout.
"We have to recognise the problems and demonstrate there is demand.
"We're fine until the end of the month. The question is, what supply level will we have after that time? We've got enough for the second doses, but how much more we have will depend upon how much more we can give out."
Bendigo Health is urging people to register to receive their vaccination to build the argument that more supply is needed in the region.
Currently, supply of the vaccines have been administered in proportion to population.
"The key thing we want people to do is demonstrate this roll-out has to be treated as a race by registering so that we can say, we need the supply," Mr Cameron said.
"At the moment people are registering with us but there are no appointments available for the rest of the month.
"When we get the supply, we can then get it into people's arms."
To register to receive your coronavirus vaccination head to: bendigohealth.org.au/COVID19vaccine
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