ACT poised to start vaccinating under-16s as outbreak expands to 618 cases

The ACT has recorded 17 new coronavirus cases a day before 12-to 15-year-olds can get vaccinated at mass inoculation hubs in the territory.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr. Source: AAP

The ACT has recorded 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections under this outbreak to 618.

The territory's latest update came the day before bookings will be available for 12- to 15-year-olds at ACT mass vaccination clinics.

"There are are about 25,000 young people in this age group in the ACT," Heath Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith told reporters on Sunday.

"So while this is a relatively small cohort, we know that it is particularly important that we continue our vaccination program to ensure that young people in our community can be vaccinated."

The territory will change its daily reporting of vaccination rates from Monday to include the percentage of Canberrans aged 12 and over who have been inoculated rather than the 16-plus percentage.

"So you will see those numbers go down a few percentage points," the minister said.

Even so, the ACT enjoys one of the highest rates of vaccination in the country at around 78 per cent single dose and 54 per cent fully covered with two doses.

Of the 17 new cases, 11 are linked to outstanding infections.

Ms Stephen-Smith said while six of these cases are under investigation, five are known to have been in quarantine during their entire infectious period and 12 spent some of that time in the community.

She says eight people are in hospital, two of them in intensive care and one requiring ventilation.

A number of construction sites were added to virus exposure locations, but the minister said this was not the result of on-site transmission.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr had slammed some residential construction sites last week for breaches of public health orders.

"We know that our construction sector has very strong COVID safety plans in place," Ms Stephen-Smith said.

"It was extraordinarily disappointing the other day to see the compliance checks on sites identifying breaches of these COVID safety plans, or not having COVID safety measures appropriately in place."

Mr Barr was absent from the daily virus update for the first time since the ACT's outbreak began.

Chief health officer Kerryn Coleman said the chief minister was heeding her advice to take a rest day.

"We are in this for the long term management and we all need to look after our wellbeing," Doctor Coleman said.

 


Share
Published 19 September 2021 at 12:24pm, updated 19 September 2021 at 3:04pm
Source: AAP - SBS