NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has blasted anti-vaxxers, saying those who choose not to get vaccinated are suggesting they “don’t care” if they put others at risk.
“I just want people to acknowledge that because unvaccinated people … it’s one thing to put themselves in jeopardy, but they’re jeopardising everybody else because they’re more contagious,” she said in a blistering take-down on Monday.
“If you choose not to be vaccinated, it’s one thing to make that decision for yourself and your family, but you’re also making that decision, suggesting that you don’t care if you’re more contagious to other people.”
Ms Berejiklian said she feared particularly for her own parents and those who are aged or had underlying health conditions, as they remain more at risk of a serious Covid-19 infection, even with the vaccine.
“This means all of us have to be on guard, because as Dr Chant and myself and everybody’s been saying, even if you’re double vaccinated and have underlying health conditions, you can still be at risk,” she said.
“I worry for people like my parents or others in the community who are aged or fully vaccinated, but yet could still be vulnerable.”
NSW now has 82.23% (5.4 million) of its eligible population at least partially vaccinated and 52.65% (3.5 million) fully vaccinated. Some areas of NSW are still battling low vaccination rates, including the popular coastal region of Byron Bay in northern NSW, where only 31.79% of the population are fully vaccinated, and the first dose rate sits at just over 55%.
The premier was asked if the lag in Byron particularly was concerning, given many Australians may want to travel there over Christmas if borders and restrictions finally lift.
“What we’re doing now is proactively moving into communities and providing increased vaccination opportunities to try and get everybody together, but there are obviously pockets of resistance … we know where those pockets are, and I have faith in people to make decisions about where they think it’s safe to take their family,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The state recorded 935 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 and four deaths on Monday, a huge drop from Sunday’s 1083.
But the premier warned the worst of the state’s hospitalisations were still yet to come. As of late, there are already 1,207 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 236 people in intensive care – 123 of whom are on ventilators.
“We need to continue to brace ourselves for October being the worst month, for the number of people who pass away and the number of people who need intensive care,” she said. “Once we start reopening, cases will go through the roof but it won’t matter so much as we will be vaccinated.”
“So, we can’t be complacent because we know that unfortunately, given what Delta does, if we are too complacent too early things can get out of control and that is the last thing we want.
“We are all working together to get to the 70% double dose vaccination and we should all keep working together.”
Original story found on the ABC News Australia website. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.
Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.