Frontline workers in Sydney’s COVID hotspots will be targeted in a ‘Super Sunday’ vaccination blitz while Victorians are being urged to come forward and fill thousands of empty jab bookings.
The jab blitz comes as NSW reported 1487 fresh cases, with 1030 in hospital and 175 of those in intensive care.
Both states are driving vaccination as the road out of lockdown as NSW had another day of record cases and Victorians were told to “hold the line”.
Meanwhile Queensland’s chief health officer has admitted another lockdown could be a possible as authorities race over the next 24 to 48 hours to contact trace customers at a nail salon in Beenleigh.
Sydney’s police, fire and emergency services staff will be jabbed in big numbers on Sunday which NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard described as a “golden opportunity” for any hold-outs.
Authorised workers also have until Monday (September 6) to get at least one dose to be allowed to work outside their area of concern.
Victoria’s chief health officer urged more people to get vaccinated to hold back the “tsunami” of potential cases.
Professor Brett Sutton said about 25,000 AstraZeneca vaccination bookings remained available over the next week.
Prof Sutton said Victoria could reach a “plateau” if vaccination rates stayed high and virus cases stayed under control.
“That is our opportunity and we have to grab it with both hands,” he said.
“So hold the line in these last weeks and months until we get the high vaccination coverage.”
Australia recorded its highest daily COVID-19 infection count on Saturday with more than 1700 virus cases — NSW had 1533, Victoria recorded 190, and there were 32 in the ACT.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) granted provisional approval to Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 after it was previously given a green light for adults.
Federal Health minister Greg Hunt said Australia had an advance purchase agreement to secure 25 million doses of the vaccine — 10 million this year and 15 million of booster vaccines in 2022 — with the first doses arriving later this month.
NSW reported another record day for case numbers, as 1533 people tested positive to the virus in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.
Four more people died, including a man in his 60s who died at his home in western Sydney.
He was the tenth person to die at home from COVID-19 during Sydney’s outbreak. He had not yet been tested for COVID-19, NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty said.
There are more than 1000 people with COVID-19 in NSW hospitals.
Some 10,000 more are being managed at home, said NSW Health minister Brad Hazzard.
He denied the NSW government was fudging hospitalisation numbers as it excludes people receiving “Hospital in the Home” treatment.
A NSW Health spokesperson said no COVID-19 patients at home were on oxygen.
“Any COVID-19 patient who requires oxygen is transferred to hospital for care,” the spokesperson said.
NSW Health’s hospitalisation numbers only include patients who are admitted to wards in hospitals, including intensive care, the spokesperson said.
Some 173 people are now in intensive care. Four in five are not vaccinated.
Victoria recorded 190 new cases on Saturday, with 103 linked to other known cases.
This figure was down from the 208 cases reported on Friday, which was the highest number since August 22.
State-run clinics administered 35,464 vaccines on Friday – the second-most on record.
But Professor Brett Sutton said about 25,000 AstraZeneca vaccination bookings remained available over the next week.
“We know people are more than fed up. They are absolutely frustrated and challenged by the lockdown that’s gone on for weeks,” he told reporters.
“There’s no question that it’s hard, (but) the alternative is too awful to contemplate; tens of thousands of cases could be our reality if we don’t maintain those really tricky constraints on our life.
“We’ve held back a tsunami of cases for 20 months … we’ve got maybe the biggest challenge we’ve faced, but we’ve got a proper pathway out of here with vaccination.”
There are 76 people with COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals, including 23 in intensive care.
None of those people have been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Victorian businesses struggling amid extended COVID lockdowns will share in more than $2.3 billion of government support.
The Victorian government will split $2.34 billion in funding with the federal government to support more than 175,000 businesses over the next four weeks.
Most of the payments will be automatically deposited into the businesses’ bank accounts.
ACT authorities are worried that more than half the territory’s 32 latest COVID-19 cases were infectious while in the community.
There will be interest in the case numbers released on Sunday after the nation’s capital on Saturday reported its highest daily number of infections since the outbreak began.
“While it is concerning, one high number on its own doesn’t necessarily mean we will continue this trend upwards or that our system is not working,” ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said.
At least 19 of the new cases were infectious while in public, with five still under investigation.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the number of people infectious while in the community is “very concerning” and it is a busy time for contact tracers.
There are now 239 active COVID cases in Canberra.
Ten COVID patients are in hospital in Canberra, with two in intensive care and one requiring ventilation.
The youngest person in hospital is under 16 and the oldest is 54.