NSW looks set to receive more vaccine doses than its less populous neighbours – but an expert has warned the jab is unlikely to provide immediate relief to the state’s spiralling coronavirus outbreak.
Following Monday’s national cabinet meeting NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed states would be assigned coronavirus vaccine doses according to population.
It comes as Sydney’s outbreak of the highly-infectious Delta covid variant grew to 11 on Monday, with four new cases recorded.
“Certainly the information provided today confirmed that states are being provided vaccine doses according to population, which was a relief,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“NSW remains in a sense of emergency in relation to the vaccine rollout.
“We‘re limited in that we can’t control supply, we can’t control the doses we get from the Commonwealth.”
To date, more than 6.59 million vaccines have been administered across Australia, including 1.9 million in NSW.
Only 43 per cent of people aged over 50 and 61 per cent of over-70s in NSW have received at least one dose, compared to 48 per cent of over-50s and 65 per cent of over-70s nationally.
Australia is due to receive 1.7 million doses of Pfizer this month, rising to 2.8 million in July. The states and territories had about 800,000 Pfizer doses on hand as of Monday.
NSW vaccination hubs are reported to get an additional 50,000 Pfizer doses over the next three weeks.
Lt Gen John Frewen said Australia is still on track to offer every eligible person in Australia a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
Ms Berejiklian and acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said their state vaccine rollouts were limited by the doses they could get from the federal government.
“It’s a setback for the program in that we now have more people to vaccinate with a limited supply of Pfizer,” Mr Merlino said.
Shortages of the Pfizer vaccine will slow Australia’s rollout through June and July, with states and territories wanting the Commonwealth to sign up more GPs to dispense doses when supplies increase in August.
Ms Berejiklian repeated her assertion, based on “expert advice”, that she would need to see 70-80 per cent of her state’s population vaccinated before easing restrictions further.
“We are limited by the doses we get and that is something I can’t control,” she said.
“I think we need to be far more ambitious about how we vaccinate our population, how quickly we think about opening up and how quickly we think about COVID-normal, because otherwise we will get left behind.”
Infectious diseases specialist from the Australian National University Professor Peter Collignon said a rushed rollout of the vaccine is unlikely to help NSW’s current outbreak.
“If you get vaccinated, it takes two to three weeks to have your antibodies and white cells made,” he told The Project.
“So almost all these clusters tend to go two, three weeks and then under control so far. If we have a situation like Melbourne, you would want to distribute more to that state.”
The problem with outbreaks in Australia now was authorities “never know where the new cluster could occur” and it “could be Brisbane next week”, Prof Collignon said.
“We need to make sure we have an orderly distribution of vaccine and all those at risk, in their turn, get vaccinated as their turn comes up,” he said.
“Every 10 years you age, your risk goes up probably 10-fold. It is very important that 70-year-olds are well a head of the queue in front of 40-year-olds, for instance.”
Sydney’s Covid-19 exposure list grows
The list of venues visited by known Covid-19 cases is growing rapidly and now includes suburbs in the west as well as in the Illawarra region.
There are now exposure sites across Leichhardt, Drummoyne, Castle Hill, Fairy Meadow in the Illawarra, Merrylands and Campbelltown.
Anyone who visited the following venues at the times listed below is considered a close contact of a covid case and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days from your visit, even if a negative result is received.
Baulkham Hills to Sydney: 614X bus, June 15 from 8.40am to 9.23am travelling from Gooden Drive to Stand J, Wynyard Station on York Street.
Sydney to Baulkham Hills: 614X bus, June 15 from 5.44pm to 6.29pm travelling from Clarence Street to Gooden Drive.
Barangaroo: David Jones on June 12 from 10.55am-11.15am
Bondi Junction: California Nails, Tower Two, International Towers Sydney, on June 16 from 4.45pm-5.30pm; Harry’s Coffee Kitchen on June 15 from 3.10pm-3.55pm, Meyer Bondi on June 12 from 11.15am-11.50am; Tea Gardens Hotel on June 13 from 5pm-5.15pm; Sourdough Bakery on June 11 from 12.35pm-12-50pm; David Jones on June 15 from 3.55pm-4.15pm; Event Cinemas on June 13 from 1.30pm-4pm, Fresh Nails June 18 from 9.30am – 7pm
Drummoyne, Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet: Country Road on June 15 from 12.30pm-1pm; Seed on June 15 from 12.30pm-1pm; Nike on June 15 from 12.50pm-1.15pm; North Face on June 15 from 11.35am-11.50am
Fairy Meadow: The Broken Drum Cafe on June 18 from 9.55am-10.05am
Newtown: Adora Handmake Chocolates on June 13 from 2pm-3pm
North Ryde: Cemetary Cafe Macquarie Park on June 15 from 1pm-1.20pm
Northmead: Northmead Bowling Club on June 13 from 3.30pm-10.15pm
Redfern: The Twisted Olive on June 13 from 12.50pm-1.20pm; Wax Car Wash Cafe on June 14 from 12.25pm-1.10pm
Shellharbour: Baby Bunting on June 18 from 4.30pm-5.15pm
Sydney: Fitness First Pitt St Platinum on June 16 from 12.15pm-1.30pm; Fitness First Bond St Platinum on June 17 from 3.10pm-4.30pm
Tempe: Salvos Stores on June 16 from 9am-10.30am and 2.15pm-2.45pm
Vaucluse: Rocco’s on June 14 from 10.55am-11.30am; Belle Cafe on June 11 from 9.15am-9.50am, June 12 from 10.20am-10.45am and 1.20pm-1.50pm, June 13 from 11.30am-12pm, June 15 from 9.50am-10.25am; Washoku Vaucluse on June 12 from 12pm-1.30pm
There are also multiple casual contact venues list on the NSW Health website, with the full list found here.