Kids vax blitz ahead of NSW school return

NSW will have a weekend 'vaccine blitz' for 12-15 year olds ahead of all ages returning to classes.
NSW will have a weekend 'vaccine blitz' for 12-15 year olds ahead of all ages returning to classes.

Parents have been urged to get their kids vaccinated and to be on alert for COVID-19 symptoms ahead of a full return to school in NSW.

NSW Health will hold a vaccination blitz this weekend, targeting the remaining 22.9 per cent of children aged 12 to 15 who have not yet received a first dose.

More than 40 clinics across the state will have walk-in Pfizer appointments available for kids as they prepare to return to school on Monday.

For some schools that return is set to be delayed, after NSW Education announced late on Friday evening seven establishments have been closed with immediate effect ahead of deep-cleaning and contact tracing.

Staff and students from public schools at Albion Park, Auburn North, Curl Curl - including the Curly Kids out of school hours facility - Garden Suburbs, Green Hill, Hinchinbrook and Manning Gardens are asked to self-isolate and follow NSW Health protocols.

Some 46.08 per cent of NSW children between 12 and 15 are fully vaccinated, and 77.11 have received at least one dose.

NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Marianne Gale on Friday urged parents and children to "remain vigilant" when school returns.

"If any of our kids have even the mildest of symptoms, it's really important not to go to school, it's important to go and get a test and stay home until you receive a negative result," she said in a recorded video message.

NSW schools will next week have full halls for the first time since June.

Students in kindergarten, year 1 and year 12 returned to classrooms on October 18, and the other year groups will join them from Monday.

NSW reported 345 new local COVID-19 cases on Friday.

The number is slightly lower than the previous day but still higher than most of the past week.

Five more people died, including one in their 30s, taking the death toll from this outbreak to 592.

The number of people in hospital continues to fall, now at 482, which is 41 lower than the previous day.

Of the 125 people in intensive care, 97 are not vaccinated, 17 have received one dose, and 11 are fully vaccinated, Dr Gale said.

Case numbers continue to be evenly divided between Sydney and the regions.

Some 61 new cases were diagnosed in the Hunter New England Local Health District, 35 in the Murrumbidgee and 25 in the Central Coast.

Southwest Sydney again had the bulk of metropolitan infections, with 63 new cases recorded.

Among NSW adults over 16, 92.8 per cent had received one vaccine dose by Thursday and 83.7 per cent had received both jabs.

Meanwhile, NSW has continued its charge out of lockdown with Qantas set to bring back stood-down workers and restart international travel to and from Sydney.

Speaking at Sydney Airport on Friday, Premier Dominic Perrottet declared his state was on the "runway to recovery".

"We do want to open up as quickly as possible," he said.

"Ultimately it is a confidence game. Confidence got our state though last year ... confidence is going to get NSW through this pandemic and stronger out the other side."

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce attributed his decision to Mr Perrottet's call to abandon quarantine for international arrivals, and federal changes to border rules.

Flights from Sydney to London and Los Angeles are already on sale, with routes to Singapore, Fiji, Johannesburg, Phuket, Bangkok and Delhi to follow.

Australian Associated Press