Millions due for booster shots as number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria drops

Victoria recorded the lowest daily count COVID-19[female[feminine number in weeks as more than two million eligible Victorians are urged to be vaccinated.

The drop in cases also comes as Prime Minister Daniel Andrews announced his government was working with local jobseekers to help tackle supermarket shortages.

Thousands of job seekers are being connected with food suppliers like Coles, Aldi and Woolworths to ease labor shortages and address supply issues across the state.

The Victorian government is working with supermarkets and job seekers to alleviate food shortages. (New)

The program started earlier this month and has already attracted more than 2,000 people’s interest in jobs, including pick-packers to assemble online orders, overnight fillers to restock shelves, cashiers, delivery drivers and forklift operators.

Victoria recorded 11,695 new cases of COVID-19 today, marking the lowest figure since January 2.

There were 17 more lives lost and 998 people are hospitalized statewide, down slightly from the previous 24 hours.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (New)

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton yesterday said Victoria’s Omicron peak had “most likely” passed, after 13,091 new cases were recorded.

Pressure has intensified on the government to reinstate the resumption of elective surgery.

However, Mr Andrews today stressed that although there are not as many people being treated with the virus in intensive care, large numbers are still sick enough to require treatment in hospital.

“And with so many sick employees, with so many employees, thousands of them, absent due to or with COVID, that means the system is under significant pressure,” he said.

The Victorian president of the Australian Orthopedic Association has previously called for the state’s healthcare workers to be used “much more effectively”.

Erin Pearson inside watches the horrors of the Victorian hospital's COVID ward
A Code Brown has been declared in the Victoria hospital system, putting elective surgeries on hold. (Today)

Code Brown was called after elective surgeries were stopped.

Mr Trivett said a Code Brown was “good in theory” but very difficult to implement.

“The reality is that small hospitals and medium-sized hospitals have very specialized teams, theater nurses, operating rooms that are empty at the moment,” he said.

“We are thinking about a more nuanced and sophisticated approach to how we manage the increasing load of elective surgery or essential surgery patients who need surgery.

“A blanket ban on elective surgery is not enough.”

Mr Trivet said many of these surgeries were not well described as “elective”.

“These are elective but essential procedures to help disabled and suffering patients return to normal life,” he said.

Mr Andrews again urged Victorians to get vaccinated and to get their children vaccinated, saying there have never been more COVID-19 vaccine appointments available in Victoria than now.

“1.77 million Victorians have received a third dose and there are around 2.2 million more who are eligible but have not yet received that third dose,” Mr Andrews said.

Safeway pharmacist Ashley McGee fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccine at a vaccination booster clinic on October 1, 2021 in San Rafael, California.
Victorians are encouraged to get booster shots. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Mr Andrews said around 30 per cent of children aged 5 to 11 had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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“176,371 children ages 5-11 have received their first pediatric dose to date.”

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