From today, all adults will be able to get vaccinated against coronavirus with AstraZeneca from one of the NSW Health clinics, in response to the state’s skyrocketing COVID-19 cases – which are likely to be high again today.
NSW Police Minister David Elliot told Today authorities were “not expecting it to drop by any significant number”.
The government has opened-up walk ins and bookings to meet the growing demand for vaccines as Greater Sydney battles the highly contagious Delta variant.
At least 66 of those were infections in the community.
Australian Defence Force personnel will be out in force across all eight hotspot LGAs enforcing stay at home orders and making sure close contacts of positive cases are adhering to mandatory isolation.
Police are also warning people across Greater Sydney they will be more visible from today, increasing fines for those in breach of the rules.
The rising number of cases has prompted advisory group ATAGI to recommend all adults in Greater Sydney “strongly consider” taking the AstraZeneca vaccine in response to ongoing community transmission and limited Pfizer supplies.
On Wednesday selected pharmacies across Sydney began offering AstraZeneca for walk-ins for those aged 18 and over.
The mass vaccination hubs include clinics at Sydney Olympic Park, Macquarie Fields and Sydney’s CBD.
The NSW Government is encouraging people to go online to book via its eligibility checker tool, but most locations say appointments are within the next 30 days or that none are currently available.
Meanwhile, new mask rules are now in place across all of the eight risk-risk LGAs which include Parramatta, Georges River, Campbelltown Fairfield, Liverpool, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Blacktown.
Masks must be worn outdoors at all times, even when exercising.
Up to 300 personnel are being deployed from today following the request from NSW Police for help in enforcing COVID-19 compliance of the Greater Sydney lockdown.
Defence members will be sent in and train over the weekend before beginning work under the direction of NSW Police on Monday.
Mr Elliot told Today the “operation will go for as long as we need it to go for”.
“If we need them for two weeks, that’s great,” he said.
“If we need them for two months that capability is there.
“An extra 300 will be supporting police on operations now. This is an important message to the community – that all levels of government are taking this seriously. But also allows more productivity from the police.”
There are currently 1385 ADF personnel working as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist across the country and more than 13,000 members have been deployed throughout the pandemic.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said authorities had been flooded by thousands of community complaints against those disobeying public health orders.
Also today, National Cabinet is set to focus on a path out of lockdowns with vaccinations expected to be the key to freedom.
State and territory leaders will be looking at health modelling from the Doherty Institute and economic data from treasury, expected to warn of the cost of lockdowns and restrictions and to consider whether snap shutdowns are necessary under the Delta strain.
Separate modelling from the Gratton Institute suggests Australia could end lockdowns when 80 per cent of the population has had the vaccine, by the end of the year.
It’s being reported lockdowns are being factored in well into 2022 as Health Minister Greg Hunt warns the world will be living with the coronavirus pandemic for decades.