29 July 2021

No surge for AZ among young in the ACT, Goulburn man tests positive

| Dominic Giannini
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COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine vials

COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine, ACT Health. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Young Canberrans have not been as receptive to the AstraZeneca vaccine as their NSW counterparts as the outbreak in Greater Sydney continues to grow.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said AstraZeneca vaccination rates had “gone through the roof” in the last few days as the state recorded another 177 locally acquired cases today – the worst of the current outbreak.

This included a Goulburn resident who was not in the region while he was infectious. The man is in isolation and contact tracing has been completed. No exposure sites have been identified in Southern NSW.

ACT Health data does not show a discernable increase in young people getting vaccinated, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing vaccine indemnity for general practitioners on 28 June.

READ ALSO ACT to keep Pfizer stocks as NSW pleads for more doses

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard have encouraged young people in Greater Sydney to get whatever vaccine is available as the COVID-19 situation deteriorates and case numbers and hospitalisations increase.

“There are oceans of AstraZeneca in NSW. There are also vast amounts of virus in the south-west and Western Sydney,” Mr Hazzard said on Friday (23 July).

“All we are saying at the moment is, your obligation to yourself, your community, to NSW and indeed Australia – because this could leak further into other states – is to go and get the jabs of AstraZeneca.”

In the ACT, just under 700 residents between 20 and 29, and 1055 between 30 and 39 were vaccinated in the fortnight to 30 June.

This then increased to 592 and 862 people in the respective age groups between 30 June and 7 July, a spike of a few hundred people a week compared to the previous fortnight.

These figures steadily increased by a few hundred people a week in each age group but plateaued or dropped slightly in the week ending 21 July.

Nine per cent of people between 20 and 29 and 13 per cent aged 30 to 39 in the ACT are fully vaccinated and an additional 4 and 5 per cent respectively have had their first jab but not their second.

The data covers both vaccinations and correlates with the National Cabinet mandate that aged care staff have at least one dose by mid-September.

READ ALSO Concerns over regional seeding as COVID creeps closer to Canberra

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said other states and territories should open up walk-in AstraZeneca hub, following the lead of the NSW Government, calling the vaccine safe and effective.

“I would encourage people to take their initiative, use their informed consent, get informed through their GP [and] go and get it,” he said.

“The Pfizer doses [are] increasing but the AstraZeneca is there and that gets us to our [vaccination] goal a lot faster.”

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