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NSW warned third COVID-19 peak on its way

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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard is urging people to get their COVID-19 booster shot. Photo: AAP
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NSW is heading for a resurgence of COVID-19 cases driven by Omicron subvariants, as the health minister warns that anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated is “crazy”.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant expects the state’s third wave to peak in late July and early August, at levels similar to January when the virus was raging.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard is urging people to get their booster shot as statistics show the majority of deaths are among the unvaccinated.

“If you’ve had two (doses), for example, or one and you haven’t had your full three, to put it bluntly, you’re crazy,” Mr Hazzard told reporters on Tuesday.

“That is what’s going to make a difference to stopping, or at least reducing the chances of you ending up in hospital or possibly dying.”

In NSW, 68.1 per cent of the eligible population has had three or more vaccine doses.

Some people missed their third jab because they were busy or thought the pandemic was over.

“On both of those counts, they’re wrong,” Mr Hazzard said.

The surge in cases is being driven by two Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, and health experts believe the number of cases and deaths will continue to grow.

“These rather pesky little variants are quite intelligent, and they are working their way around the current vaccines to an extent,” Mr Hazzard said.

“But … if we are fully vaccinated, we are far less likely to get as ill and far less likely to die.”

NSW has recorded 1232 COVID-19 related deaths this year, with 56 per cent of them among those not fully vaccinated.

Dr Chant said two vaccine doses no longer meant a person was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The virus has changed … we need three or in some cases four doses to provide the best protection against getting very sick.”

She said the community was also dealing with flu and other respiratory viruses.

“I’m concerned about this picture,” she said.

Dr Chant called on people to keep up to date with their vaccinations, wear masks indoors and stay at home if they had cold or flu symptoms.

NSW recorded 10,504 cases and 14 deaths in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

– AAP