A frustrated Brad Hazzard has criticised Aussies who are hesitant to get the Covid booster shot for “wasting” health resources.
The NSW health minister pleaded with the public on Thursday, saying 100,000 appointments had gone to waste last week.
The third-dose rate among adults is moving slowly — from 29 per cent to 36 per cent over the past seven days. On Thursday, NSW Health announced 17,316 new Covid cases and an increase in ICU admissions.
Mr Hazzard said the increased booster rate was not enough.
“The numbers of boosters are not what we need them to be to keep people safe, that’s the bottom line,” he said.
“In [the Royal North Shore Hospital] today, there are seven people in ICU and not one of them has had the booster.”
Mr Hazzard said the fact that fully-staffed state facilities are only receiving a “handful” of patients every day or week was “ridiculous”.
“Those health staff could be looking after patients elsewhere,” he said.
Fears booster mistake could cost lives
NSW Health deputy secretary Susan Pearce said she thinks there is a “perception in the community that Omicron is milder and so therefore a booster is not necessary.”
She also warned of a growing trend among people who recently contracted and recovered from Covid, saying some believe the booster is no longer necessary.
“What we know is that to prevent severe disease, that booster is absolutely critical,” she said.
“You still need to have it, we cannot reiterate this strongly enough.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet reiterated that there are plenty of booster vaccines available. The rollback of mask and density restrictions, which have been extended until late February, hinge on a higher rate, he added.
The national cabinet is expected to announce a changed definition of “fully vaccinated” on Thursday, according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
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