COVID-19

Massive booster jab change in NSW, Vic

The 40 state-run vaccine hubs from Wednesday will administer a booster shot to people three months after their second dose, reduced from four months.NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the change on Wednesday morning after a run of unfilled appointments at the state vaccine clinics.“We have the capacity for 250,000 vaccines every week in those hubs. Today’s decision will enable over 3.5 million more people from our state to be eligible for that booster shot,” he told reporters.“As we are clearly seeing, boosters are key to keeping yourself, your friends and your family safe. We have the capacity available. We’ve seen in our intensive cares the difference vaccination makes.”He thanked healthcare workers and the wider community for “the sacrifices everyone has made”.“The rules aren’t there for the sake of it, they’re there to keep you safe. We are making our way through it and we will make our way through it,” he said.The wait period between second and third doses will be reduced from four months to three months from the end of January at GPs and pharmacies, in line with commonwealth government guidelines.Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also announced people in his state would also able to get a booster dose within three months of their second dose.The change was planned for the end of the month but has been brought forward, meaning 1.2 million more Victorians have become eligible for their booster.“Nothing is more important than getting a third dose and getting vaccinated,” Mr Andrews said.“It’s critical to us getting to a peak and starting to see these numbers come off and getting back to something like normal.”NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said almost 50 per cent of Covid patients in the state’s intensive care units were unvaccinated.“We want to see the booster rate increase as dramatically and quickly as possible,” he said.NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant stressed the urgency of increasing third dose vaccination rates as quickly as possible, as the state continues to record tens of thousands of daily cases.“Please get boosted now. I also urge (to) people who have children going back to schools, is that you get boosted ahead of the school year,” she said.There are 2863 people in the state’s hospital with coronavirus, with 217 of those in intensive care, up from 2850 and 209 respectively on Tuesday.The state recorded 32,297 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, as well as 32 deaths of people with the virus.Health officials said 12,450 of the new infections were detected on rapid antigen tests and 19,847 were found through PCR testing.Meanwhile, Victoria has recorded 20,769 new Covid infections from both PCR and rapid tests, as well as 18 deaths.There are 1173 people in Victorian hospitals with the virus, with 125 people in ICU including 42 patients on ventilators.As of Tuesday, 95.2 per cent of people in NSW aged over 16 have had one dose of a Covid vaccine, 93.8 per cent have had two and 27.8 per cent have received a booster.Among children aged 12 to 15, 82.2 per cent have received their first dose of a vaccine, while 78.3 per cent have had two shots.Of children aged five to 11, 16.4 per cent have had one dose of the vaccine since January 10, when this age group became eligible.Mr Perrottet has vowed to have students return to classrooms from the start of term 1 next week, with the government working to distribute rapid tests to schools across the state.A delivery of 1.2 million rapid antigen tests arrived in the state on Monday night and a further 15 million kits are expected within the next week.

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