Australia

Victoria records 45 new local coronavirus cases as Pfizer bookings open to under 40s

Victoria has recorded 45 new local coronavirus cases, as the government’s vaccine website crashed after thousands of newly-eligible young people tried to secure a booking for a Pfizer shot.

Of the 45 new local cases, 36 have been linked to current outbreaks. Seventeen cases were in quarantine throughout their infectious period. 

The total number of active cases in Victoria has now reached 538.

Pfizer eligibility expanded on Wednesday morning to people aged 16 to 39 across Victoria’s 55 vaccination hubs after supply ramped up courtesy of 175,000 doses imported from Poland.

Premier Daniel Andrews said more than 830,000 vaccination bookings over the next four weeks will be made available, including 450,000 first-dose Pfizer appointments.

Those aged 18 to 39 who have already made a first dose AstraZeneca appointment will be given the option to instead receive the Pfizer jab, while 16- to 17-year-olds will strictly receive the latter.

But within minutes of bookings opening, the website appeared to buckle.

Many young people reported receiving a “500 internal server error” after waiting in the queue to book their appointment, while others were told they were ineligible for the vaccine.

Victoria recorded 50 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

More to come.

SBS is providing live translations of daily New South Wales and Victoria COVID-19 press conferences in various languages.Click here for more information.

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