Daniel Andrews has committed to giving all Victorian high school students at least one Covid jab by the end of this year, as pressure mounts around returning students to the classroom.
The state has expanded its vaccine program, making every Victorian over the age of 16 eligible for a coronavirus vaccine at state-run vaccination centres.
The Premier said he wanted all students over the age of 12 to have at least one dose by the end of the school year.
“We made it clear (at national cabinet) that it is our intention to have at least those kids with a first dose, children and young adults with a first dose,” he said on Tuesday.
“If we can do better than that then we will by the end of this school year.”
The Victorian Government closed schools this month as the Delta variant ripped through the community.
There is growing concern the variant is severely affecting younger age groups and behaving differently among young people compared to previous strains of the virus.
The state has seen the virus get into schools and spread from one student to another, which was rare with previous strains of the virus.
But Mr Andrews said vaccination programs through schools would offer a unique and trusted platform.
“It’s not an easy task, it is a significant number of jabs to get into arms,” he said.
“But the number of people who are quite young who are in hospital and have got this is, I think, it‘s very, very concerning.”
From August 25 anyone aged 18 to 59 in Victoria will be eligible to receive either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca in Victoria, and those age 16 and 17 will be able to access Pfizer only.
Over the next four weeks, there will be over 830,000 appointments for vaccines at the state-run hubs.
Mr Andrews said it was the state’s priority to have all Year 12 students vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Getting them through their exams is obviously top of the list will stop again, we‘re looking to get all the students back to school as fast as we possibly can,” he said.
“I‘m not here today to make definitive announcements as to when different students will get the vaccine, but trying to vaccinate and prioritise our most senior students because they have impactful exams coming up, well we are alive to that.”
This article originally appeared on Escape