Differences in uptake can be partly attributed to prioritisation by age group, Professor Leask said, with younger people living in lower coverage areas, and access determined by how “connected you are with advice and information on when and how to get a vaccine.”
According to federal government data released on Friday afternoon, NSW reached 70.32 double dose coverage of its population aged 16 and over and 89.41 per cent have received a first dose.
On Friday, NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said she was confident that NSW can achieve the “ambitious target” of well over 90 per cent vaccination.
But pockets with lower vaccination rates are concerning due to outbreak risk, said Professor Leask.
“Whether it is a locality, households or institutions, those communities face a greater burden of disease while the rest of us enjoy protection.”
Some suburbs with low rates including Chippendale, Ultimo and Kingsford surround the city’s largest universities – a trend which could also in part be explained by population change as NSW uses the ABS Estimated Resident Population 2019 to calculate its postcode vaccination rates.
NSW reported 646 new local coronavirus cases on Friday and eleven deaths, bringing to a halt a week of daily declining numbers.
The slight uptick in infections comes as NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said that investigations have uncovered a new Delta strain, with eight new COVID-19 cases identified with a different genome sequence to the current variant circulating in Sydney.
Dr Chant said there was no indication the new strain “presents any differences regarding transmission or vaccine effectiveness or severity”.
“We’ve been having a program throughout this response to the pandemic around genome sequencing… and those investigations have identified eight cases with this particular Delta strain, seven people in one household within one additional case,” Dr Chant said.
The Hunter New England region recorded 97 cases – the highest daily case number for that area, which included new infections in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Tamworth and Maitland.
A spike in regional infections comes as vaccination rates across the state continue to be uneven. Byron Bay and Mullumbimby have second-dose coverage below 40 per cent.
As cases rise in regional areas, NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole quashed any speculation that day trips from Sydney to regional areas will be allowed when the state’s reopening begins on Monday.
Under the road map, holiday travel between Greater Sydney and regional local government areas is not permitted until the Monday after the state reaches 80 per cent full vaccination. This target is expected to be reached later in October.
Travel is allowed between regional local government areas including for holidays for fully vaccinated people, Mr Toole said.
More than 10.7 million vaccines have been administered in NSW’s mass vaccination hubs, GP clinics and pharmacies.
On Friday, 856 patients were being treated for COVID-19 in NSW hospitals, with 170 in ICU. Seventy-five ICU patients required ventilation.
Of those who died, two were aged in their 50s, one in their 60s, four in their 70s, and four in their 80s. Seven were not vaccinated, three had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and one had received two doses.
Stay across the most crucial developments related to the pandemic with the Coronavirus Update. Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter.