Sydney’s mass COVID-19 vaccination hub at Qudos Bank Arena will be closed as NSW turns its attention to booster shots.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the centre would close its doors on Sunday after delivering more than 360,000 vaccine doses since opening on August 9.
The arena will return to hosting sport and entertainment events.
Mr Perrottet said it was an important milestone in the state’s vaccination program, as it transitions to giving booster shots to adults who received their second jab at least six months previous.
“It is very clear that this booster program here in our state is going to be critical in order to keep people safe and ensure we can keep NSW open,” he told reporters while touring the new Granville Centre vaccination clinic, which will open on Monday.
NSW is on the brink of hitting 90 per cent full vaccination of people aged 16 and over, with 89.7 per cent now double-dosed.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the closure of the arena would not further slow the state’s vaccination rate.
“We’re now in the tougher end of the vaccination (program) … where people who have been reluctant for a variety of reasons are now contemplating whether or not they should be vaccinated,” he said.
“They are coming forward but they’re coming forward more slowly.”
It comes as another 244 local COVID-19 cases were reported in NSW along with one death, an unvaccinated man from the southern border region.
NSW Health on Sunday confirmed the unvaccinated man in his 60s from Albury died at Melbourne’s Box Hill Hospital. His death brings the state’s toll throughout the pandemic to 593, with 537 of those recorded since June 16.
Regional cases up
Some 269 virus patients remain in hospitals across the state, 52 of them in intensive care.
COVID-19 continues to spread in regional NSW, with more than half of new infections outside Sydney.
Of the 244 local cases reported to 8pm on Saturday, 77 were detected in the Hunter New England health district, 20 on the mid north coast, 17 in Murrumbidgee and nine in western NSW.
Four cases were from the Central Coast, three in southern NSW and two in the Blue Mountains, while another was found in a “correctional setting”.
Virus fragments were also detected in samples collected from other regional areas where there are no recent known cases, including Bermagui, Moruya, Young, Gulargambone and Cobar.
Anyone in these areas with symptoms is urged to immediately get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.