Hotspots urged to aim for higher vax rates

Residents in the coronavirus hotspot areas of southwest and western Sydney are being urged to come out in even greater numbers to be vaccinated, as a curfew on the area is lifted. 

© Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS Kerry Chant is pushing Sydney hotspot residents to push for even higher COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Vaccination numbers in the twelve local government areas of concern have been surging, but authorities want them to push even further. 

“I urge you to be one of the most highly vaccinated populations in the state,” NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told hotspot residents on Wednesday.

“Yes, you’ve achieved 80 per cent in some of your local government areas. Yes, you’ve achieved 90 per cent in some.

“I’m challenging you to push even further.” 

First-dose vaccination numbers in Blacktown, Parramatta and Campbelltown have cleared 80 per cent of the eligible population, with other local government areas of concern not far behind.

The premier called on residents not to become complacent as she ditched the hotspots’ curfew on Wednesday.

“We have roughly 2.2 million people in those areas of concern. Even having 20 per cent of them not vaccinated is about 400,000 people. That’s a lot of people,” she said.

The unvaccinated will be shut out of much of society when it begins to reopen at the 70 per cent double-dose threshold, Ms Berejiklian said.

“It will be a health order and the law that if you’re not vaccinated, you can’t attend venues on the roadmap,” she said.

“Unvaccinated people will not be able to utilise hospitality venues. They won’t be allowed into particular events. They won’t be allowed into particular indoor settings.”

The next stage of reopening will be triggered once the state reaches 80 per cent double-dose coverage. 

The government is still working out what that stage looks likes, the premier said, but it’s likely that unvaccinated people will continue to miss out.

Nervous businesses are seeking more clarity and rules from the NSW government, as they approach the date they’ll start having to turn unvaccinated people away. 

Ms Berejiklian said the government was seeking legal advice on how to handle the issues. 

The government plans to roll out a vaccine passport when the state hits 70 per cent double-dose coverage, anticipated to occur within the next month.

“We’re all in uncharted territory,” Ms Berejiklian said. “But we’re providing as much certainty as possible.”

NSW reported 12 more deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, and the state recorded 1259 new cases.

Some 1241 people are in hospital with the virus, including 234 in intensive care.

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