Deputy chief medical officer Michael Kidd has confirmed a shipment of additional Pfizer vaccines will be delivered to NSW this week.
Professor Kidd confirmed that the extra 50,000 Pfizer doses are coming from a yet unallocated supply from the so-called national stockpile.
“The commonwealth will increase the emergency allocation to New South Wales of additional doses of Pfizer from 150,000 to 200,000 doses this week,” he said.
“The commonwealth will constantly assess requests against any reserves held by the commonwealth.”
Earlier on Saturday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he could not confirm whether further Pfizer doses had been offered by the federal government, following requests by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday.
“I have no idea how much, if any, are in our national stockpile. I simply don’t know that. I would like to know,” he said.
“Can I say if the Prime Minister has said that – and if he is – I welcome that offer. I just need to see it in writing and know exactly what that means.”
NSW records 163 new local COVID-19 cases as numbers continue to rise
The expert panel on vaccinations, ATAGI, updated its advice on Saturday, issuing its strongest recommendation to date for adults aged under 40 to get the AstraZeneca vaccine.
It said the increasing case numbers had prompted the advice.
“All individuals aged 18 years and above in greater Sydney, including adults under 60 years of age, should strongly consider getting vaccinated with any available vaccine including COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca,” ATAGI said in a statement.
“This is on the basis of the increasing risk of COVID-19 and ongoing constraints of Comirnaty (Pfizer) supplies.
“In addition, people in areas where outbreaks are occurring can receive the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine 4 to 8 weeks after the first dose, rather than the usual 12 weeks, to bring forward optimal protection.”
Chris Moy, Vice President of the Australian Medical Association, said he is concerned that the strategies employed have not reduced the number of new cases.
“Unfortunately, the ability for Sydney to come back from this is looking more and more remote with the numbers going up,” he told SBS News.
“And that means unfortunately that Sydney is almost going to go into a different mode.
“They have declared it a national emergency.
“But where Sydney may be, unfortunately, is that the lockdown will have to continue, but not to squash it, but just to keep the numbers within a reasonable band to protect the community, but also stop hospitals for example, from being overrun.”
NSW on Saturday recorded 163 new COVID-19 cases, with at least 45 infectious in the community.