Pfizer jabs to be redirected to NSW amid 'national emergency'

·2-min read

New South Wales will beef up its vaccine strategy with thousands of extra Pfizer doses from the federal government in its bid to quash Sydney's Covid-19 outbreak.

The state reported 136 new local cases on Friday, a new daily high for the current outbreak which started in mid-June.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant advised for the first time on Friday that the outbreak was a "national emergency".

The federal government announced on Saturday that it will send thousands of extra Pfizer doses from the national stockpile to NSW, in addition to 150,000 extra doses already sent.

The Prime Minister's Office told AAP the extra Pfizer doses are set to arrive in NSW within the week.

NSW urged the Commonwealth to rethink the vaccination strategy and asked for more Pfizer doses. Source: AAP
NSW urged the Commonwealth to rethink the vaccination strategy and asked for more Pfizer doses. Source: AAP

The Commonwealth's intervention comes after other states and territories pushed back at the national cabinet meeting on Friday against the NSW government's pleas for Pfizer vaccines to be diverted to Sydney's virus hot spots.

On Friday, the PM appeared to shut down the idea, saying "we're not going to disrupt the vaccination program around the rest of the country" but has seemingly reversed the position.

Dr Chant warned on Friday that the scheme could see some people's vaccine appointments cancelled, but she said hard choices would be necessary to stem the spread.

The government is also urging people to consider getting the AstraZeneca vaccine as the state's outbreak continues to worsen.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said members of the community had a duty to help quash the outbreak, that would be fulfilled by getting the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"Your obligation to yourself, the community, NSW and indeed Australia ... is to go to get the jabs of AstraZeneca," he said.

Dr Chant said her own husband and mother-in-law had received the AstraZeneca, describing the risks as "infinitesimally small compared to the benefits".

Case numbers keep trending higher despite the government ratcheting up restrictions in Greater Sydney, which was sent into lockdown four weeks ago.

Residents in the Cumberland and Blacktown local government areas are now subject to the same elevated stay-at-home orders that southwestern Sydney residents have endured for almost a week.

From 12.01am on Saturday, they have been forbidden from leaving their area unless they are a critical worker.

Residents in the Orange, Blayney and Cabonne local government areas in the state's central west are also in lockdown until at least July 28.

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