NSW approaches another vaccine milestone

NSW is set to surpass another COVID-19 vaccination milestone, all but guaranteeing the state becomes one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions on the planet.

The state on Wednesday achieved 70 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage of those aged over 16, clearing the way for restrictions to ease as planned on Monday.

But soon – as early as Saturday – 90 per cent of the state’s eligible residents will have been jabbed with at least one dose.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


As of Thursday, 89.8 per cent of people 16 and over had received their first vaccine dose.

That all but assures NSW will reach the same level of double-dose vaccination within weeks.

Premier Dominic Perrottet on Friday said NSW was proudly leading the country when it comes to vaccination, and a return to COVID-normal.

“We can really be, in our state, in a situation where we have the highest vaccination rate in the world,” he told 2GB.

From Monday, a swathe of restrictions will lift for fully vaccinated people across the state.

Ten adult visitors will be allowed in homes, 30 people will be permitted to gather outdoors, and 100 guests can congregate at weddings and funerals.

Shops and hospitality venues can reopen and the five-kilometre from home travel limit will be scrapped.

But with NSW the first Australian state to reach 70 per cent vaccination, NSW is also going to be the first to meet some challenges, the premier said.

The United Workers’ Union, which represents many frontline and public-facing workers, is concerned members checking vaccination status could be put in unsafe situations.

Adding to their worry is that the integrated Service NSW vaccine certificate or passport app is not yet ready.

Meanwhile, the Australian Medical Association of NSW said changes to the state’s plan to emerge from lockdown could overwhelm the hospital system and burn out healthcare workers.

The new premier said he knew easing restrictions was “going to be difficult”, but asked for patience as “we learn as we go ahead”.

“This is not going to be complete smooth sailing because no one else has gone down this path,” he told 2GB.

“We can’t let perfection be the enemy of the good here.

“Everyone just needs to treat everyone with kindness and respect.”

There were 646 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths, reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday.

© AAP 2021