How Sydney stopped the Delta spread: New vaccine data revealed

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Real-world evidence has revealed how vaccines have been “key” in bringing the NSW Covid crisis under control.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant released the findings from the latest NSW Health In Focus report on Monday as fully-vaccinated residents were granted greater freedoms.

“The Covid-19 Delta outbreak has been the biggest challenge the state has faced during the pandemic because of its transmissibility,” Dr Chant said.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant addresses media during a press conference in Sydney, Tuesday, August 10, 2021.(AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the data makes it clear fully vaccinated people were significantly less likely to become infected with Covid-19. Source: AAP

“However, this report shows vaccination has been key in protecting ourselves, our families, and the community from the harmful effects of the virus.”

The data showed that during the peak of the devastating Delta outbreak between September 8 and 21, those who were unvaccinated were 16 times more likely to end up in ICU or die from the virus.

Dr Chant said ICU admissions and deaths were “far lower” among those who were fully vaccinated.

Those who received two doses were also better protected and significantly less likely to become infected.

Doctor or nurse in a laboratory preparing a vaccine for a patient. Source: Getty Images
At the height of the NSW Covid crisis, unvaccinated people were 16 times more likely to end up in ICU or die from the virus. Source: Getty Images

How Covid-19 vaccines protected NSW

Of the 61,800 locally acquired COVID-19 cases with disease onset from 16 June to 7 October 2021:

  • The majority of cases (63.1 per cent) had received no vaccine, 9.2 per cent had received one dose, and 6.1 per cent of cases had received two doses of vaccine. About one in five people (21.7 per cent) had no vaccination recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register.

  • Of the 8,660 cases hospitalised, only 5.7 per cent (493) had received two doses of a vaccine and just 3.0 per cent (30) of the 1,015 cases who were admitted to ICU were fully vaccinated. Twenty-six of those 30 people had significant underlying health conditions.

Of the 412 people who died in total from 16 June to 7 October 2021:

  • Only 11 per cent (47 people) had received two doses of a vaccine.

  • Of these 47 people, their average age was 82. Twenty-nine people were residents of aged care facilities and the other 18 people had significant underlying health issues.

“COVID-19 cases peaked from 25 August to 7 September, with the rate among fully vaccinated people at 49.5 per 100,000, while in unvaccinated people it was 561 per 100,000, a more than 10-fold difference,” Dr Chant said.

Syringes containing Pfizer vaccine are prepared at a COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic in Midland, an eastern suburb of Perth, Thursday, September 9, 2021. Source: AAP
Since June 16, the majority of people who fell ill with Covid in NSW had received no vaccine. Source: AAP

Vaccination plea to teens

Dr Chant warned that while NSW has done an “extraordinary job of embracing vaccination”, rates among the younger population needed to urgently increase to “optimise” protection as restrictions are eased.

“It is incredibly important people come forward for vaccination as soon as possible, especially young people aged 12 to 15 years old,” Dr Chant said. 

On Monday 70 per cent of that age group in NSW were fully vaccinated.

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