Victorians over the age of 18 will now be eligible for their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine three months after their second dose.

The reduced timeframe of three months, previously four months, was recommended by Victoria’s public health team, and means 1.2 million more Victorians can now increase their immunity before school and work returns in full.

To support an anticipated increase in demand this weekend, more workers, more cubicles, more walk-up capacity and 60,000 more appointments will be available at some vaccination centres.

Hours at major hubs including Sandown, Bendigo and La Trobe University have all been extended specifically for the blitz, from this Friday to next Monday, with key clinics also offering free ice creams.

Walk-up vaccinations will be available and are encouraged at several state-run centres, including:

•             Royal Exhibition Building: walk-up access available 8am to 8pm daily during the blitz;

•             Latrobe University, Bundoora: walk-up 8am to 8pm;

•             Sandown Racecourse: walk-up 9am to 6.30pm Saturday and Sunday;

•             Dandenong Plaza: walk-up 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday;

•             Frankston’s Bayside Centre: walk-up 9:30am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday;

•             Sunshine Hospital: walk-up 8am to 8pm;

•             Bendigo Vaccination Hub: walk-up 9am to 8pm;

•             Ballarat Mercure: walk-up 8:30am to 3pm Sunday.

There will be supported by extra cubicles and the deployment of dozens of extra vaccinators. Hot weather contingencies are in effect, including shade and bottled water supply at key sites.

Premier Daniel Andrews said thousands of appointments were also available at the rest of Victoria’s large state-run network.

“This is a big push. Thousands of appointments are available, walk-in capacity has been expanded, opening hours have been extended, and more vaccinators will be on the floor,” he said.

“If you got your second dose in October or earlier, now’s the time to come along to one of our major state-run centres this weekend and get your third, to protect yourself and the community for the busy year ahead.”

Visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccination-centres for locations, hours and access information before walking up. Bookings can also be made online at portal.cvms.vic.gov.au or by calling 1800 675 398.

Those who want to get their third dose at a local GPs or pharmacy can also book through the online clinic finder at covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/booking/.