He said the state was set to reach the 70 per cent vaccination double dose target by the time lockdown ends on Thursday at 11.59pm.
There were 1749 new local coronavirus cases and 11 further deaths in Victoria over the last 24 hours.
“We are well-placed to reach our target of 70 per cent double dosed and to open up,” Mr Andrews said.
“Beyond that, we remain on target and that 30th, 31st, around that time just before the Melbourne Cup, we are on track to be reaching that 80 per cent double dose target and delivering all the roadmap promises at that point.”
He warned that unvaccinated Victorians would not be getting any freedoms any time soon.
“I’m not going to say to someone, just wait it out, just wait for five weeks and then you will be able to the pub,” Mr Andrews said.
“I cannot put a day on it… it will not be when we reach 90 per cent.
“It will not be anytime soon. That is going to function for a period of time, well into 2022.”
Mr Andrews gave the example of the Grand Prix – which is due to be held in Melbourne in April – explaining he could not imagine unvaccinated people being able to attend.
“The Grand Prix is in April, I don’t think there will be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed,” he said.
“Please don’t play that game of ‘let’s just wait it out and then we will be able to do everything we want to do and have not got jabbed’.
“No, that will not be the case here and if you make that choice, it will be a very long wait and you won’t outweigh this virus.”
Cash to help vulnerable people get jabbed
Mr Andrews announced a $21 million funding package to assist Victorians facing barriers to get vaccinated.
He said the funding would assist vulnerable people to access COVID-19 vaccines, including those living with a disability, at-risk youth, seniors, social housing residents and culturally diverse or multi-faith communities.
“This funding will help to book appointments, promote existing transport operations or arrange alternatives when needed or to offer respite or occasional childcare in suburbs with low vaccine uptake,” he said.
“As you have seen, we have taken this program right into local communities with pop-ups and micro pop-ups.”
In Victoria, 89.4 per cent of the population have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 67.2 per cent have had both the first and second dose.
There were 36,751 coronavirus vaccine doses administered in the last 24 hours.
Victoria’s 11 COVID-19 deaths include two women and two men in their 70s, four men in their 80s, two men in their 90s and one woman in her 100s.
There are 784 people who are currently in hospital with COVID-19, with 149 of those in intensive care and 100 on a ventilator.
Victoria’s new cases include:
- 28 per cent of infections in Melbourne’s south-east, including 153 in Casey, which was the highest number in any area and 132 in Greater Dandenong
- 28 per cent of cases in the northern suburbs, including 145 in Hume and 135 in Whittlesea
- 30 per cent of cases in the western suburbs, including 127 in Brimbank, 122 in Wyndham and 111 in Melton
- Five per cent of cases in the eastern suburbs, including 21 in Manningham and 20 in Knox
- In regional Victoria, there were 145 new cases
At the beginning of last year there were more than 15,000 people waiting for an operation in Victoria.
Mr Andrews said the state would try and get through the lengthy backlog of cancelled elective surgeries as quickly as possible.
“The sickest have got to be treated quickest,” he said.
“But we will get to catch up, we will deal with that backlog just as fast as we possibly can.”
Some of the operations being cancelled are classed as “category one”, meaning they have been deemed urgent and pose a risk to the individual if the procedure is unable to go ahead.
These include procedures like the removal of cancerous breast lumps and skin lesions.
A number of category one surgeries, which are expected to be performed within 30 days, have been postponed because of the shortage of ICU or general ward beds available in hospitals.
Doctors have said that they understand the need for restrictions to be placed, but worry about the long-term effects that delaying important surgery can have on an individual.
After months in hard lockdown, restrictions will finally ease this Friday, when the state is expected to reach 70 per cent double dose vaccination coverage.
From 11.59pm on Thursday, Melbourne’s five reasons to leave home will be scrapped, along with the curfew and the travel limit.
Household gatherings will be permitted with up to 10 visitors per day and outdoor gatherings will be expanded to a 15-person limit.