30 March 2022

ACT COVID-19 cases jump again to 1139; bookings now open for winter vax doses

| Lottie Twyford
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AIS vaccination clinic

ACT Health says bookings are now open for ‘winter doses’ for vulnerable Canberrans. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT has recorded 1139 new COVID-19 infections overnight and bookings are now open for fourth or ‘winter’ doses of the vaccine for vulnerable Canberrans.

Local and federal health authorities are concerned about what the coming winter may hold from a public health perspective, given the potential for a spike in both COVID-19 cases and influenza.

For the last two years, very few flu cases have been reported in Australia due to border restrictions. Pre-COVID, when borders were open, the Territory experienced one of its worst flu seasons, with 10 deaths and 3343 cases recorded in 2019.

It’s unclear what this winter will hold.

The following groups are now eligible to access a fourth shot, four months after a booster dose at ACT Government vaccination clinics. Appointments will be available from Monday, 4 April:

  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older
  • Residents of aged care or disability care settings.

Bookings for boosters at an ACT Government clinic can be made online through MyDHR or by phoning the COVID-19 vaccination booking line on 02 5124 7700 between 7 pm and 7 am seven days a week.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith at a press conference

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said COVID-19 is still in the community and it’s important for people to get boosted if they haven’t already. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

ACT Health confirmed that immunocompromised individuals who have received a fourth dose will also be eligible for another shot.

Authorities continue to urge those Canberrans who have not yet come forward and rolled up their sleeves for a booster dose to do so.

“COVID-19 is still very much in our community and it’s important that we do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us, and being up to date with our vaccinations is key,” Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said in a statement last week.

“This is particularly important as we head into winter, where we will see both COVID-19 and influenza circulating in our community.”

It’s expected the country will soon move to seasonal doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, similar to the flu jab.

ACT Health will soon roll out an information campaign encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this winter.

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Locally, there are now 48 patients with COVID-19 in the Territory’s hospitals. Of these, five are in ICU and one requires ventilation.

Yesterday, there were 49 COVID-19 patients in hospital. Four of these were in ICU, but none required ventilation.

The 1139 (625 PCR, 514 RAT) new cases of COVID-19 reported this morning take the Territory’s local active caseload to 5844 (2990 PCR and 2854 RAT).

Since the pandemic began, 76,537 (49,396 PCR and 27,141 RAT) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the ACT.

As of yesterday, the double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population was 97.9 per cent, and 72.9 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 50.1 per cent had received two doses.

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Interstate, NSW has reported 15 deaths overnight and 25,235 new cases.

There are now 1301 people in hospital with the virus and 46 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported seven deaths overnight and an additional 11,749 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 280 people hospitalised with the virus, while 18 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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