A COVID-19 vaccine shortage is forcing the city's major jab hub to slash appointments by 300 per day - right as the state is plunged into its sixth lockdown.
Ballarat Health Services has cut walk-ins for AstraZeneca this weekend, but will take walk-ups for people aged 60-plus in the mass vaccination hub at The Mercure from Monday.
In a public statement, issued via the health services' website and social media channels, BHS said the changes were temporary and that clinic hours would "be extended once greater volumes of vaccine are made available."
The Courier understands some urgent vaccine cases had already been trying to seek jabs in Geelong.
The shortage comes after new data this week that showed Ballarat was lagging behind Bendigo and Geelong for vaccination rates.
Vaccine hours will be shorted, 8.30am to 3pm on Monday to Saturday, with 700 appointments each day.
BHS aims to extend this back to 1000 per day.
UFS also offers both Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID vaccinations. Free appointments at the UFS vaccination clinic in Dana Street can be made online at ufs.com.au/vaccine or by phoning 4320 0891.
The Courier has made queries to Ballarat Health Services and the Victorian health department about COVID-19 vaccine supply.