Record number of Victorians get COVID jab

Victoria's 22 mass vaccination hubs delivered almost 7000 vaccine doses in the 24 hours to Tuesday.
Victoria's 22 mass vaccination hubs delivered almost 7000 vaccine doses in the 24 hours to Tuesday.

Almost 7000 coronavirus jabs have been administered in Victoria since the state opened its vaccination hubs to everyone aged over 50.

Some 6923 vaccine doses were administered in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning across the state's 22 mass vaccination hubs, according to the health department.

The department said the number of reported doses was a 105 per cent increase on the same day last week.

More than 13,000 Victorians also called the state's booking hotline to make an appointment to have the jab.

The national vaccine rollout was expanded on Monday to include phase 2a, which includes anyone aged 50 or over as well as all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged between 18 and 49 years old.

Victoria's Acting Premier James Merlino said authorities had been preparing for weeks.

"The Department of Health have done a great job of getting ready to be at this point, which means that we could make that switch immediately and get going with thousands more (doses)," he told reporters.

"We can do even more subject to the supply of vaccine from the Commonwealth."

Mr Merlino also noted Victorians were likely to be keener than other Australians to get the vaccine.

The state endured the nation's only second wave of coronavirus infections, resulting in thousands of cases, hundreds of deaths and a prolonged 112-day lockdown.

"The experience of Victorians in 2020 has meant we are really keen to make sure that we get vaccinated," Mr Merlino said.

"There's great enthusiasm to get vaccinated because we know that to get vaccinated is our quickest path to normality."

But he cautioned the pandemic will not be over until billions of people around the world are immunised.

"We are not out of this pandemic," he said.

"We're seeing it in the pretty catastrophic situation in India and other parts of the world."

Meanwhile, the federal government is assessing the state's proposal to construct a purpose-built quarantine next to the Mickleham post-entry pet quarantine centre, a Commonwealth site about 40km north of Melbourne.

The 500-bed facility would cost about $200 million to build, with the state government committing $15m to get the project ready for construction.

Mr Merlino said the federal government should pay the rest, as quarantine is their responsibility under the Commonwealth constitution.

"It's not just what Victoria is calling for, a number of other states are calling on the federal government to take up their responsibility under the Commonwealth constitution and be responsible for quarantine," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the "detailed and comprehensive" proposal is currently under review.

"A lot of effort has gone into it and we will look at it seriously," he told reporters in Mackay in Queensland on Tuesday.

"Any of the fiscal issues, I am sure we would raise and discuss those first with the state government.

"I am not getting ahead and nothing should be read into that. We will take it on its merits and consider it as part of our broader policy position."

Victoria recorded its 67th consecutive day without a locally acquired coronavirus case on Tuesday, following 14,325 tests.

A returned traveller in hotel quarantine, however, tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 21.

Australian Associated Press