Four people in Canberra are isolating after visiting COVID-19 exposure locations in Sydney as the number of sites of concern continues to grow.
There are now three positive COVID-19 cases, the original case being a driver who transported an international flight crew. His wife and a second woman in her 70s who visited an exposure site have also tested positive. NSW Health is scrambling to find how the driver caught the virus.
Exposure locations have now popped-up in Bondi Junction, Castle Hill, North Ryde, Redfern, Zetland and Vaucluse. A full list of exposure sites can be found on the NSW Health website.
Canberrans who travelled to Sydney over the long weekend are being urged to regularly check new exposure locations and follow the relevant protocols if they have been to an exposure site.
As NSW races to contain the growing cluster, the vaccine rollout went through another revision after the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) updated its advice.
The Pfizer vaccine is now preferred for people under the age of 59.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is now only recommended for people aged 60 years and above unless otherwise advised by a medical professional depending on a person’s specific circumstances.
The change to the rollout came just a fortnight after the ACT opened up bookings at its Pfizer hub in Garran to people aged between 40 and 49.
The ACT’s COVID-19 booking line will no longer accept appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 50 to 59 years from today (17 June), Chief Minister and acting Health Minister Andrew Barr said.
“The priority over the coming days will be to reschedule these people for a Pfizer appointment,” he said in a statement.
People aged between 50 and 59 who have already had their first AstraZeneca dose without experiencing any serious adverse effects are still encouraged to get their second shot.
Mr Barr said the ACT would continue to work with the Commonwealth to confirm Pfizer’s supply and availability and assess the current capacity of the ACT’s vaccination clinics.
“We are asking any ACT resident aged 50 to 59 years who has not yet booked a vaccine appointment to be patient while we work through these changes,” he said.
“When we are in the position to open more appointments to this age group, we will let the community know. In the meantime, if you are aged 50 to 59 years, please do not contact the COVID-19 booking line.
“We will continue to provide updated information and advice to the community as it becomes available. Delivering a safe and effective vaccine program remains a priority for the ACT Government.”
It is unknown how this new development will impact the construction of a second Pfizer clinic in Canberra, which the ACT Government flagged a fortnight ago.
The ACT currently receives around 6000 to 7000 doses of Pfizer from the Commonwealth each week.
The Commonwealth Government plans to increase the number of doses the ACT receives each week, but exact figures have not yet been released as the ACT Government continues to negotiate supply.
Last week, Ms Stephen-Smith said supply projections from the Commonwealth were not where the ACT wanted them. Ms Stephen-Smith refused to elaborate on the numbers, saying it could harm negotiations with the Federal Government.
The Garran centre can currently administer around 7000 jabs a week.
For more information about COVID-19 and the vaccine’s rollout in the ACT, visit www.covid19.act.gov.au.