Australia Vaccination hub on track for more than 30,000 doses a week, NSW scouting second location

16:02  18 may  2021
16:02  18 may  2021 Source:   smh.com.au

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard speaks at a press conference at a mass COVID-19 vaccination hub in Sydney Olympic Park on May 10, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. The mass vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park is equipped to administer 30,000 vaccine doses a week or around 5,000 vaccinations per day. The centre will administer both Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to eligible people. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) © 2021 Getty Images NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard

NSW Health is looking to open a second mass vaccination clinic after its Sydney Olympic Park location administered a record number of vaccines on Monday.

The NSW Health Vaccination Centre is on track to deliver well over its promised 30,000 vaccinations a week when it begins to offer both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines later this month, with doses already exceeding 5000 a day despite the facility not operating at full capacity.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said investigations were being made regarding a possible second mass clinic "in or near" Newcastle.

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The Sydney Olympic Park clinic operates out of a commercial building that health officials found advertised for lease on a real estate website. It opened its doors on May 10 after being refit by the state government within a month.

There were 11,415 shots administered across all NSW Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics on Monday including 5320 at Sydney Olympic Park.

This was a daily record for the ministry and the mass clinic, which has significantly bolstered NSW's vaccinations since opening its doors just over a week ago.

Previously, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the clinic would be able to administer about 30,000 vaccines a week, or 5000 vaccines a day during its Monday to Saturday operation.

But it exceeded that number on Monday even though part of the two-storey facility was not yet in use, as the state moved ahead of the national rollout by offering vaccines to people aged 40 to 49.

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An additional pharmacy, as well as a second floor of vaccination booths, waiting areas and observation areas, will open when the clinic begins offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 50 and over on May 24.

Mr Hazzard expressed optimism that the number of doses administered at the clinic could be higher than initially anticipated.

"NSW Health has stepped up total vaccinations to more than 5000 a day in less than a week after opening," he said.

"So as procedures progress it may be possible to increase total vaccination numbers."

There have been 291,550 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered by NSW Health to date.

An additional 647,329 doses had been administered by GPs and Commonwealth respiratory clinics by Sunday night, bringing the state's total to 938,879 shots.

While the mass vaccination clinic has jolted the state Health Ministry's vaccine output, doses administered by GPs and the respiratory clinics in NSW have also slowly increased with 95,907 shots in the week ending May 16, up from 80,175 a fortnight earlier.

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People aged 50 to 69 became eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at GP clinics this week.

Over the past two months, NSW Health has repeatedly taken on additional responsibility for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout from the federal government.

Initially tasked with vaccinating 150,000 frontline workers, the state's ministry is now assisting the federal government in providing vaccinations to the aged care sector, as well as eligible members of the public.

However, on Tuesday morning the Premier said NSW would not take over vaccinations of people in disability homes after it was revealed fewer than five per cent of residents had received one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine during a hearing of the disability royal commission earlier this week.

The Premier said it was difficult for the state to interfere in contracts the federal government had with private providers.

"Of course, we'd like to see the most vulnerable vaccinated as soon as possible and NSW is keen to do that, but the federal government has that responsibility and we urge them to intervene in any which way they can to expedite the process," Ms Berejiklian said.

NSW reported three new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, all in quarantined overseas travellers.

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Depending on which state or territory you live in, you may be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Here is what you need to know.But other groups of people are also eligible for the vaccine, depending on which state or territory they live in.

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