COVID-19 frontline workers in NSW will start being vaccinated from Monday, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian arguing the definition of "success" in tackling the virus must change as the rollout progresses.
The Pfizer vaccine will be administered to 35,000 frontline workers in the next three weeks.
Frontline workers include those employed at quarantine hotels, people screening airport arrivals, health staff, cleaners, police officers and security guards will be included in the first phase of the rollout.
All quarantine hotel workers in NSW - about 6500 people per week - will be included in the initial 35,000-person rollout of the jab.
It comes as NSW records its 31st consecutive day without a locally-acquired COVID-19 case, as well as four cases in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
Ms Berejiklian said vaccinations would reduce the number of COVID-19 patients requiring critical care.
The definition of "success" in fighting the virus should shift this year from low case numbers to low hospitalisation rates, as well as opening the state's economy and resuming international travel, she said on Wednesday.
"As a nation we need to have a conversation about what success looks like, and I don't think once the vaccine is rolled out to the vast majority of the population that success is just counting the number of cases. It's counting the number of people not in hospital," she said.
"The vaccine is a wonderful line of defence for us moving forward and we want to live as freely as possible, we want international travel and especially in NSW, we're most impacted, we're Australia's global city."
However, studies into the efficacy of various vaccines in suppressing COVID-19 transmission are ongoing, meaning outbreaks could still occur.
Vaccinations will be given at Westmead, Liverpool and Royal Prince Alfred hospitals in Sydney, with regional hubs to be established as soon as possible.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said coronavirus-related restrictions weren't being eased just yet, and people with even mild respiratory symptoms should still get tested.
Dr Chant said NSW was "blessed" to have access to effective COVID-19 vaccines and said life would be different by the end of 2021.
"Will we need to have second generation vaccines, third generation vaccines, continue to evolve? Yes. Will vaccines need to make changes? Yes they will, to respond to emerging virus strains, potentially in the years to come," she said.
"(But) 2021 and into 2022 will be a navigation where we start to free up.
"Once we've taken away the severity of the disease, we then need to think about what a proportionate response looks like."
The imminent vaccine rollout in NSW comes as Victoria confirms a snap five-day lockdown will draw to a close as scheduled on Wednesday night. Some restrictions will linger until at least February 26.
Nationwide, Australia has access to enough Pfizer doses for 10 million people and a deal for almost 54 million injections of the two-dose AstraZeneca jab.