BOOSTER PLAN: NSW residents told to ‘get used to’ periodic COVID jabs for YEARS to come…
Angelo Risso – AAP/7NEWSPublished:
Monday, 30 August 2021 2:46 PM AEST
NSW will probably inoculate its residents against COVID-19 periodically for years to come, the state’s chief health officer says, as daily infections hit another high and four more people die.
The state reported a record 1290 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday.
The four deaths include a man in his 50s in Dubbo, two men in their 70s and a woman in her 60s.
The Western NSW Local Health District on Monday confirmed the Dubbo man was Indigenous. He was unvaccinated.
The death toll for the current NSW outbreak now sits at 93, with the national toll for the entire COVID-19 pandemic surpassing 1000.
The NSW government on Sunday committed to restoring personal freedoms to fully vaccinated residents once the state hits 70 per cent double-dose coverage, regardless of COVID-19 case numbers.
This is expected in roughly mid-October.
As of Saturday, 66 per cent of eligible NSW residents had received at least one vaccine dose and 35.9 per cent were fully vaccinated.
‘We need to get used to being vaccinated with COVID vaccines for the future’
Chant told reporters on Monday that health authorities would likely vaccinate NSW residents on a regular basis in the long term, or until vaccines are developed which provided more permanent COVID-19 immunity.
“We need to get used to being vaccinated with COVID vaccines for the future … I can’t see COVID is not going to be with us forever,” Chant said.
“As a public health doctor we always want to have diseases go, to be totally eliminated, but that is not on the horizon in the near future.
“Booster doses and repeat doses will be part of that.”
Unlike other jurisdictions such as the UK, Premier Gladys Berejiklian again made clear that reaching 70 and 80 per cent NSW vaccination coverage would not prompt a widespread “freedom day”.
QR code check-ins, yet-to-be-developed vaccination passports, density requirements and mask use would be long-term suppression tools.
It comes as the number of COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals nears 850, with 137 patients in intensive care and 48 ventilated.
While NSW has a surge capacity of about 2000 intensive care beds and an equivalent number of ventilators, unions have expressed concern the quality of patient care in such a scenario would be greatly diluted.
Berejiklian said the rate of hospitalisations per COVID-19 infection would continue to fall as more NSW residents are vaccinated, but the overall number of hospitalisations was likely to rise as infections increase.
October is likely to be the worst month for the NSW health system due to the accumulation of COVID-19 infections from the preceding weeks.
‘The health system is prepared’
“Every day we get closer to hitting those vaccination targets, meaning the pressure on our hospital system, on our ICU will decline over time, and that is what we need to manage,” Berejiklian said.
“We are going to see more cases but if the majority of the population is vaccinated, the majority of those cases will not need to be in hospital.
“The health system is prepared, but will it stretch? Absolutely.”
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said she was confident rising vaccination rates would ensure a staggered return to school from October 25, building to a full return from November 8.
A survey of 50,000 public school teachers found about 70 per cent had one vaccination and 40 per cent were double vaccinated.
Meanwhile, there’s a COVID-19 alert for Quality Medical Centre at Merrylands in western Sydney, covering last Monday to Saturday.
Authorities on Sunday also revealed a COVID-19 outbreak at Parklea prison in Sydney’s northwest has reached at least 31 cases.