After lockdowns were called yesterday in Victoria and the Hunter and Upper Hunter regions of NSW for seven days, adding to the existing lockdowns in NSW and Queensland, health experts have pleaded with the Australian public to get vaccinated.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews called a seven-day state-wide lockdown, starting at 8pm last night after new cases of the Delta variant were reported.

Andrews said: “No Victorian wants to be in this position. We know that the Delta variant moves faster than anything our public health experts have seen before – and we know what we need to do to drive it down once again.”

Earlier yesterday NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian called a seven-day lockdown after a beach gathering on Friday night was pinpointed as the source of the infection; affected LGAs are Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook.

The AHA’s Newcastle Hunter president Rolly de With says a similar seven-day snap lockdown in Orange saw businesses re-opened after seven days – and he said he hoped that will be the case in the Hunter.

“While obviously this is not news any of us wanted to hear, the last thing we want to see in the Hunter is an extended lockdown like the Greater Sydney area is going through right now,” he said.

“Hunter hotels have led the way since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do the right thing, abiding by the health orders, but is important to realise any lockdown at all is devastating for our workforce of more than 15,000 staff as well as all associated industry operators and staff.”

Hunter region hotels had been doing it tough alongside the rest of the industry, de With noted.

“It is also important to remember the broader hotel industry has been operating under restricted trading conditions for 17 months now and counting – that has had a huge impact on Hunter hoteliers and our hardworking staff.”

With half the country now heading into the weekend in lockdown leading Australian health experts have pleaded with the Australian public not to wait for Pfizer and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The group of 14 experts told The Australian: “First is safety, and the commonly expressed concern by patients that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not safe because of a link to a rare blood-clotting syndrome. Second is efficacy, and the current broadly held perception by patients that Pfizer offers better protection.

“In terms of safety, the side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the blood-clotting syndrome called thrombosis thrombocytopenia syndrome is rare. For Australians over 50, the incidence of TTS following the AstraZeneca vaccine is about one in 50,000. In people under 50, the incidence is about one in 35,000.

“Death has occurred in about 5 per cent of people who had TTS, a less than one-in-a-million chance of dying as a result of vaccination. The low mortality rate compared with other countries is likely due to rapid implementation of improved diagnostic techniques and earlier effective treatments.”

“Australia is at a critical point in the pandemic. In the past month we have had COVID lockdowns in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Vaccines offer our only pathway to safeguarding the health of the community, preventing unnecessary deaths, avoiding the financial and health costs of future prolonged lockdowns, and opening our country back to the world,” the group said.

“It is a phenomenal feat of human ingenuity and collaboration to have even one vaccine available so quickly after this new viral challenge arose. To get back to our normal lives, we need to make the most of every vial of every vaccine made – including AstraZeneca.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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