Fully vaccinated people have been significantly less likely to become seriously ill or die, and better protected from acquiring COVID-19, during the Delta outbreak in NSW.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant highlighted the findings in the latest NSW Health In Focus report which shows hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths were all far lower among the fully vaccinated population during the outbreak’s peak.
Dr Chant said the report also makes it clear fully vaccinated people were significantly less likely to become infected with COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 Delta outbreak has been the biggest challenge the state has faced during the pandemic because of its transmissibility. However, this report shows vaccination has been key in protecting ourselves, our families, and the community from the harmful effects of the virus,” Dr Chant said.
Of the 61,800 locally acquired COVID-19 cases with disease onset from 16 June to 7 October 2021:
- The majority of cases (63.1 per cent) had received no vaccine, 9.2 per cent had received one dose, and 6.1 per cent of cases had received two doses of vaccine.
- About one in five people (21.7 per cent) had no vaccination recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register.
- Of the 8,660 cases hospitalised, only 5.7 per cent (493) had received two doses of a vaccine and just 3.0 per cent (30) of the 1,015 cases who were admitted to ICU were fully vaccinated. Twenty-six of these 30 people had significant underlying health conditions.
Dr Chant said ICU admissions and deaths peaked from 8 September to 21 September during the outbreak, with unvaccinated individuals more than 16 times more likely to end up in ICU or die during this period.
Of the 412 people who died in total from 16 June to 7 October 2021, only 11 per cent (47 people) had received two doses of a vaccine. Of these 47 people, their average age was 82. Twenty-nine people were residents of aged care facilities and the other 18 people had significant underlying health issues.
“COVID-19 cases peaked from 25 August to 7 September, with the rate among fully vaccinated people at 49.5 per 100,000, while in unvaccinated people it was 561 per 100,000, a more than 10-fold difference,” Dr Chant said.
“Notably, young people with two doses of a vaccine experienced lower rates of infection and almost no serious disease, while those unvaccinated in this age group were at greater risk of developing COVID-19 and needing hospitalisation.”
Dr Chant said NSW has done an extraordinary job of embracing vaccination, but that rates need to increase even further to optimise the state’s level of protection.
“It is incredibly important people come forward for vaccination as soon as possible, especially young people aged 12 to 15 years old,” Dr Chant said.
“Vaccinations are safe, effective, and free from our NSW Health vaccination clinics, GPs and pharmacies.”