Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ fourth-jab push

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Daniel Andrews is pushing for a fourth jab for healthcare workers, declaring ‘immunity is waning’.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will push for a fourth jab for healthcare workers following concern over waning Covid immunity.

The Premier on Monday revealed plans to seek federal government support in including healthcare workers among those eligible for a fourth dose as well as requesting a boost in vaccine supply.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) currently places Australians aged over 65 and those with serious underlying health condition in the fourth-jab cohort, but Mr Andrews said hospital chiefs had become concerned about workers’ waning Covid resistance.

“The CEO of Barwon Health, a nurse herself, made it very clear to me that a number of their COVID outbreaks in their hospital had been via staff bringing the virus in unknowingly,” he said.

“Some of their immunity is waning, so getting them fourth jabs as fast as possible is very important to help keep Covid out of the hospital.

“That’ll be something that I’ll be raising with the Commonwealth as soon as I can.”

The new laws, passed in December last year, shifted the responsibility of issuing mandates from Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton to Mr Foley.

It comes after Prof Sutton appeared to have been overlooked for his work during the Covid-19 pandemic, with several chief health officers have receiving Queen’s Birthday honours.

Prof Sutton was left off the list.

Mr Andrews conceded he did not know whether Prof Sutton’s name was put forward for recognition.

“Professor Sutton has done an amazing job and knowing him very well, I don‘t think that he’d been troubled by that,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Monday.

“I think he’s far more focused on getting the job done not necessarily on gongs. But again, that’s not a matter for me.”

Australia’s former chief health officer Brendan Murphy received an award, along with Kerry Chant from NSW and Jeannette Young from Queensland.

Prof Sutton has taken a month of leave from his role, which he was appointed to in April 2019.

“Tweeps – I’m on leave for a month. You may see Professor Ben Cowie on here in my absence,” he posted to Twitter on Monday.

“Go well, mask up and get your winter dose. Hope you dodge that damn virus, but if not, report those RATs to be on a care pathway.

“Oh, and enjoy that Vegemite.”

The Premier was out to announce an increase in funding for Breast Screen Victoria, which provides critical care to 10,000 clients.

Funding will go towards transitioning three temporary sites to permanent and the development of a further five permanent sites.

The investment will allow the service to provide care to an additional 36,000 eligible Victorians every year by 2026.

New permanent sites will be developed in Whittlesea, Casey, Greater Geelong/Surf Coast Shire, Melton and Moreland and will be completed by January 2025.

Three temporary sites in Craigieburn, Pakenham and Hoppers Lane will be converted into permanent sites with greater capacity.

“We‘re seeing substantial improvement in breast cancer survival rates in recent decades and it’s all down to the amazing work that Breast Screen Victoria and their partners do,” Mr Andrews said.

Breast cancer mortality rates have decreased by almost two per cent a year since 1994.

However, more than 4500 Victorian women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 766 died from the disease in 2020.

“We know that early detection and early intervention is so important when it comes to identifying and getting on top of all forms of cancer, particularly breast cancer,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said.

It is the second most common cancer in the state, accounting for 30 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in women.

Breast Screen Victoria provides free two-yearly breast screening for people above 50 years of age without symptoms.

Originally published as Daniel Andrews calls for fourth-jab push for healthcare workers


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