Date published: 
19 January 2022
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW:

More than 70,000 booster jab appointments in New South Wales have gone unfilled. New data revealed that people over 60 with COVID are making up most of the hospitalisations and also ICU admissions. The state's Chief Health Officer is urging people to get their booster as soon as possible. Around half of the eligible population have now received the jab. And joining me now is COVID vaccine rollout boss, Lieutenant General John Frewen. Good morning to you, John.

JOHN FREWEN:                   

Hey.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW:

Firstly, I want to get your response to some claims we just heard from an aged care expert saying that the numbers in aged care don't really reflect the reality of the rollout that it's about homes visited and not booster shots administered. So, where are we at with protecting our most vulnerable in aged care?

JOHN FREWEN:                   

Yeah. So, look, this has been one of our highest priorities over the Christmas/New Year period, Eddy. There's about 2590 aged care facilities. We've now done more than 1800 of those with a booster visit. You know, that's 70 per cent and we've got a plan to get all of those homes visited by the end of Jan. But, of course, any of these visits, on some days, you know, some of the people might not be there, some of the people are unwell, so we will- as we did during the vaccination program, we will keep working with the facilities to make sure the booster levels get up. We've already started a second visit in some of the jurisdictions, but the priority is to get round and get the first visit done.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW:

Yeah. And keep on going back to those homes. Why do you think people aren't getting their boosters and all these vaccination appointments are going unfulfilled?

JOHN FREWEN:                   

Well, a quarter of a million Australians are getting their boosters every day, the numbers are fantastic. We're up at 56.6 per cent now of the eligible population that have come forward. That's, you know, more than five million Australians that have had their boosters. The story in those available bookings that we heard from New South Wales to me is there is vaccine opportunities available and really encourage people to come forward and take those opportunities. I mean that's- they're the New South Wales numbers you've heard, 70,000 available over the next week, that's opportunity for people to get out there. You know, we're now at 95 per cent first dose, 92 per cent fully vaccinated on the first two doses. I mean, Australians have responded really well to vaccination, so I'm seeing strong turnout for vaccine boosters and I encourage people to get out and get it done as quickly as they can.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW:

And hopefully that message gets through. Lieutenant General John Frewen, thank you for your time this morning.

JOHN FREWEN:                   

Thanks, Eddy.

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