Health experts are urging the Hunter to get their COVID-19 jab sooner rather than later, as the region ramps up their vaccine rollout.

The NSW Government announced plans to accelerate the state’s vaccine campaign earlier this week, with the John Hunter Hospital now offering the Pfizer jab to 40-49 year-olds, followed by Muswellbrook Hospital in June.

This comes alongside NSW Health’s search for a suitable site in Newcastle for the city’s own mass vaccination centre and the success of the Sydney Olympic Park clinic. 

University of Newcastle virologist Nathan Bartlett said the Hunter shouldn’t wait for COVID to catch up with us.
“Our vaccination campaign, our rollout, really needs a boost,” Associate Professor Bartlett said.

“Currently, we’re still largely unvaccinated as a population and that really needs to be addressed urgently.”

“The longer we remain largely unvaccinated, the greater the threat to infection and community transmission and disease and death.”

There’s also concern over-50s could be holding out for the Pfizer shot amid a confusing rollout, mixed messaging, and AstraZeneca’s links to blood clot cases. 

But Associate Professor Bartlett said the risks of the AstraZeneca vaccine were “very minimal” in comparison to the effects of COVID-19.

“There should be no hesitancy – go out, get vaccinated, protect yourself, protect the community.”