Under-50s now eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations at Sydney mass vaccination hub

The Covid-19 mass vaccination clinic at Sydney Olympic Park. Photo: NSW Health/supplied.

By DAMIEN NOVAK

NSW residents aged 40 to 49 are now eligible to register their interest for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine and could receive the shot “within weeks” at the newly opened mass vaccination hub at Sydney Olympic Park.

The mass vaccination hub opened today and will operate six days per week, staffed by approximately 200 registered nurses and midwives.

From today, the facility started giving AstraZeneca jabs to people aged 50 and above, bolstering the vaccination efforts already being undertaken for that age group at vaccination clinics, general medical practices, respiratory clinics and Aboriginal Community Health Services. 

At 1pm today, online registration for Pfizer jabs for those aged 40–49 also commenced.

The plan is that after people have registered via an online link, NSW Health will contact them to make an appointment for the vaccine.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejikian said people aged 40–49 who expressed interest would be contacted when bookings became available through excess doses.

“We’ve worked hard to get our systems up and running to make sure we use up every dose we’ve been given,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We want to make sure that if we have any excess doses or we suddenly get doses we didn’t anticipate, that we’re able to draw on 40 to 49-year-olds that can register from today.”

The announcement came as NSW recorded no locally acquired Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday, with 13,768 tests undertaken in the same period.

Meanwhile, investigations continue into how an Eastern Suburbs man in his 50s and his wife became infected with an Indian variant of Covid-19.

Genomic sequencing linked the couple’s infections to a returned overseas traveller from the US, who was quarantined at the Parkroyal hotel at Darling Harbour last month – but it is still not known how the virus jumped from the traveller to the Eastern Suburbs couple.

The pair’s infections have seen various Covid-19 restrictions reintroduced until 12.01am Monday, 17 May.

To date in NSW, 235,852 vaccine doses have been administered – of these, 77,392 were second doses, which means just 77,392 on the state’s 8.2 million people are considered to have been fully vaccinated. 

5,349 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in NSW since the pandemic began. Of these, 3,163 cases were from overseas, with the remainder being acquired in Australia. 

There have been 56 deaths from Covid-19 to date in NSW, with 910 deaths in Australia overall, the vast majority of which (810) occurred in Victoria during the state’s second wave of infections, which peaked last August after breaking out of the hotel quarantine system.

NSW Health continues to urge everyone in NSW with even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, to come forward immediately for testing, and then isolate until they receive a negative result.