Australia

Victoria records 45 new local coronavirus cases as vaccine booking site crashes

Victoria has recorded 45 new local coronavirus cases, as the government’s vaccine website crashed while 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. Only 17 cases were in quarantine throughout their infectious period. 

The new caseload came from 53,321 tests, and brings the total number of active cases in Victoria to 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.

More than 830,000 vaccine 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.

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.

Some who phoned the state’s coronavirus hotline also reported being unable to schedule an appointment.

Victoria administered 31,629 vaccines on Tuesday.

With AAP.

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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