'V-Day' in Vic as vaccine rollout begins
Health workers on the frontline of Victoria's battle with COVID-19 are set to be the first in the state to receive the jab as the vaccine rollout begins.
Victoria's first 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived on Sunday afternoon at Monash Hospital in Clayton where they are being kept at minus 70C.
They will begin being administered on Monday morning, with high-risk frontline health staff first in the queue.
Other recipients in line to immediately receive the long-awaited coronavirus jab include hotel quarantine, airport and port workers, as well as aged care staff and residents.
The federal government is expected to allocate 59,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to Victoria over the first four weeks of the program.
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison became one of the first people in Australia to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in a "curtain-raiser" to Monday's national rollout.
Victorian minister Jaala Pulford said the staged event sent a clear message to the community that the Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved vaccine was safe.
She added the state government stood ready to assist the federal-led vaccine rollout effort.
"This is an important milestone in our pandemic experience and journey, where people will feel some relief we've now reached this next stage," she told reporters on Sunday.
"It'll take some time and priority groups will go first, and people will welcome this."
Not everyone is on board, however, with hundreds of protesters gathering at a rally in Melbourne's Fawkner Park on Saturday. Police made over 20 arrests at the event.
Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien took aim at the protesters, saying the "science is against them".
"The rolling out of the vaccine is absolutely critical for this state and this country," he said.
Victoria recorded its second consecutive day without a local coronavirus case on Sunday as the state rebounds from an outbreak at Melbourne Airport's Holiday Inn.
Meanwhile, the Victorian government has drawn a mixed response to its $143 million support package for businesses unable to operate during the state's five-day lockdown.