Mayor says vaccine focus 'much too late' for hotspot suburbs
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has called for more vaccines for Sydney coronavirus hotspots as the outbreak continues to spread.
The mayor of a Sydney council area hit by increased restrictions has slammed the NSW Government over delays in a targeted vaccine strategy for communities battling COVID-19.
Cumberland Mayor Steve Christou's comments come after NSW today called for a vaccination drive focused on hotspot areas now facing even tougher lockdown restrictions amid the ongoing outbreak.
"I've been calling for an increased rollout of vaccines for western Sydney for weeks, but unfortunately this intensive vaccination program announced today comes much too late," Cr Christou said in a statement.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian today called for more vaccines for hotspots, saying she would be broaching the topic at this afternoon's National Cabinet meeting.
"We need to have a discussion about refocusing the national vaccination strategy," Ms Berejiklian said after announcing 136 new cases today.
"We need to get more of them into arms, even if it is a first jab, because we know that reduces transmission or protects someone up to 30 per cent and that is very important."
She said she would also seek to have "any additional supplies that could be brought forward to NSW to support us".
NSW Health today confirmed they would be rolling out vaccination hubs using facilities in the Cumberland area but Cr Chirstou said this was "of little comfort" to the community.
"We offered our facilities and offered to run a vaccination program weeks ago and this lack of action is having a devastating impact on our community," Cr Christou said.
Cr Christou said he was "outraged" at the suggestion that Bunnings and Officeworks stores could be transformed into vaccination hubs, labelling the idea "ridiculous and irresponsible".
"There are hundreds of councils across Australia who are ready, willing and able to roll out a mass vaccination program. We have the facilities and staff to assist," he said.
In his statement, Cr Christou reassured his constituents support and resources would be made available to NSW Health to help bring this virus under control.
"I understand this is a challenging time for our residents and businesses. We're doing everything we can to get our community through this."
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said more vaccines needed to be distributed to hotspot areas in south-western and western Sydney.
"I have indicated to the government that we need an intensive vaccination program using both Pfizer and AstraZeneca in that area," Dr Chant said.
"I would recommend to anyone NSW to make a booking for AstraZeneca, regardless of where they live, whilst we are developing a very targeted at intensive strategy in south-western Sydney."
She called for young people to come forward for their vaccines.
"We need to vaccinate younger people, between that 20 and 40-year-old age group," she said.
"They are that workforce that are doing those critical jobs. And we also need to maximise jabs of AstraZeneca anywhere we can get them.
"That is my strong advice."
Dr Chant said the mythology about AstraZeneca needed to be corrected.
She and her husband have both had the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The health officer described the risks of AstraZeneca as being "infinitesimally small" compared to the benefits.
"In the context of the Delta threat, I just cannot understand why people would not be taking the opportunity to go out and get AstraZeneca in droves," Dr Chant said.
"Anyone over 40, go and get vaccinated. Anyone under 40, consider it. If I was living in some of those areas, I would certainly be having AstraZeneca."
Health Minister Brad Hazzard described getting vaccinated as a "duty" for people in Sydney.
"The national emergency, every citizen has a duty to do what they can to defeat whatever is happening to us - in this case, it is a Delta variant of a virus," Mr Hazzard said.
"Can I just remind citizens, especially in south-western and Western Sydney, that duty would absolutely be addressed if you would go and get vaccinated."
Since February, 3.2 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in NSW.
A new daily record of 25,610 coronavirus vaccines were administered by NSW Health yesterday.
More than 8000 were given at the vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park.
There were 136 new local cases of coronavirus in the state, with 137 people are in hospital with the disease.
Of those hospitalised, 32 are in intensive care.