Get jabbed, don't be left behind: NSW govt

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says double-dose coverage for those over 50 and 70 is too low.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says double-dose coverage for those over 50 and 70 is too low.

The NSW government is warning unvaccinated residents will be left behind once the state hits 70 per cent COVID-19 vaccination coverage and restores freedoms to its jabbed citizens.

NSW reported 1220 new local cases on Tuesday. Eight deaths were recorded in the 24-hours until 8pm on Monday - a man in his 50s, a man in his 60s, three people in their 70s, one man in his 80s and two men in their 90s.

Almost three-quarters of NSW residents aged 16 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as the state pushes towards 70 per cent vaccination coverage, triggering freedoms for the fully vaccinated.

Further freedoms will be restored at 80 per cent double-dose coverage.

More than 41 per cent of eligible people in NSW are now fully jabbed.

But Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says double-dose coverage for those over 50 and 70 remains too low, despite longstanding vaccine eligibility.

Federal health data on Tuesday shows 59.26 per cent of those over 50 in NSW are fully vaccinated, and 68.46 per cent of those aged over 70.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says many freedoms will be restored for the fully vaccinated at 70 per cent coverage.

The government is working on an update to the Service NSW app which combines QR code check-ins with vaccination status, so the fully vaccinated can easily check into venues.

"Don't be left behind when we start opening up ... when we open up at 70 per cent double dose, it will be only for those who are vaccinated," Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

"There's time now to get your first dose and fit in your second dose before NSW starts opening up.

"If people want to enjoy the things we have missed such as a meal or (attending) any other venue, they're going to have been vaccinated."

Dr Chant said she believed vaccination coverage in NSW could easily surpass 80 per cent by next week and potentially hit 90 per cent.

"Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I actually think we can," she said.

There are more than 1150 COVID-19 patients in NSW in hospital, with 192 people in intensive care beds and 75 people ventilated.

It comes after modelling from the Burnet Institute shows hospitalisations in NSW will peak in October before intensive care capacity is placed under the greatest strain in November.

However, authorities don't believe ICU occupancy will reach NSW's surge capacity of 1550 patients, even if patients may need to attend distant hospitals.

The modelling suggests case numbers will continue to increase until mid-September in COVID-19 hotspots, reaching up to 2000 cases per day.

The flow-on effect of those case numbers on hospitals and ICUs will follow, with up to 3900 patients expected to need hospital admission.

The estimated peak of patients in ICU is 947, of whom 560 would be COVID-19 patients and 387 have other ailments.

At that point, some ICU patients will be treated in other spaces like operating theatres. Doctors and healthcare workers will be caring for a larger number of patients than usual.

Some critically ill patients, who would be in intensive care were it not for the pandemic, will be treated outside intensive care units.

The Australian Paramedics Association says the government also needs to employ more paramedics and staff in the emergency departments to deal with the looming crisis.

Meanwhile, NSW Police says all employees will need to be fully vaccinated by November 30.

NSW parliament is also unlikely to sit this month, with the government taking medical advice from Dr Chant that convening was not COVID-safe.

Australian Associated Press