THERE are precious few appointments available to get children 5-11 vaccinated in Bass Coast and South Gippsland.

One local mum, with a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old to get vaccinated, finally got two appointments, after weeks trying, at the state-run centre at the Wonthaggi Town Hall, the earliest being Thursday, January 27, just before school goes back on Monday, January 31.

However, a caller to the 1800 675 398 number listed on the Australian Government’s Vaccine Clinic website as the main contact point for the Wonthaggi Town Hall centre, last Friday, had no such luck.

“They haven’t listed any further appointments at this stage. Maybe ring tomorrow or later,” they said.

Some pharmacies, like the Fish Creek Pharmacy Plus, also listed on the government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder as doing children’s vaccines say they would do 5-11 vaccinations if they could get the supplies.

“We can’t get the vax. It’s dribbling in but it’s hard to manage under those circumstances.”

Lang Lang Community Family Medicine say they have some appointments available next Wednesday.

Still other local outlets, listed on the Vaccine Clinic Finder, either haven’t started doing kids’ vaccinations, aren’t planning to provide the service, haven’t got any appointments or were uncontactable.

It’s a shemozzle.

The State Government announced earlier this week that it “is helping local doctors and community pharmacies deliver more doses for kids between 5 and 11 on school grounds as part of the Commonwealth’s coronavirus vaccination program” by rolling out “30 pop-up vaccination clinics at primary schools across the state” but there are only two in Gippsland.

On the list is Moe’s (Albert Street) Primary School in Latrobe City and Bairnsdale Primary School in East Gippsland. But none were in Bass Coast which has the second highest number of active COVID-19 cases, 607 on Friday, January 14 (56 new), behind Latrobe City 836 active cases (153) new.

East Gippsland by comparison has Gippsland’s lowest number at 358 (74 new).

Children aged 5 to 11 were able to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from January 10.

They are able to receive a smaller dose of vaccine created specifically for their age group.

Bookings are available at participating Victorian GPs and pharmacies using the Australian Government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder and at state vaccination centres, but it’s very hit and miss, and requires diligence, ingenuity, and patience.

The recommended schedule for vaccination in this age group is 2 doses, 8 weeks apart.

The interval can be shortened to a minimum of 3 weeks in certain circumstances. For example:

* As part of an outbreak response

* Before the start of significant immunosuppression, or

* Before international travel.

Some families have been enquiring about third doses for children. Third doses are only recommended for people aged 18 years and over at this time.

Latest daily local COVID numbers Friday, January 14:

  • Bass Coast 607 active, 56 new
  • Baw Baw 571 active, 190 new
  • East Gippsland 358 active, 74 new
  • Latrobe City 836 active, 153 new
  • South Gippsland 247 active, 46 new
  • Wellington 365 active, 46 new
  • Gippsland regional totals: 2984 active, 565 new

Cases by postcode on Friday, January 14:

  • Mirboo North (3871): 17 active, 4 new
  • Cowes (3922): 118-11
  • San Remo/Cape Woolamai (3925): 81-7
  • Korumburra (3950) 33-6
  • Leongatha (3953): 82-21
  • Fish Creek (3959): 13-2
  • Foster (3960): 31-5
  • Corinella (3984): 77-8
  • Nyora (3987): 1-0
  • Wonthaggi (3995): 192-14
  • Inverloch (3996): 103-13