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New vaccination deadline prompts fears of demand overload

“It would be great if our clinic could also have access to the Pfizer – if the numbers were shared there would be less of a queue,” the club’s chief executive, Mark Condi, said.

“If we had thousands queuing at the Bankstown hub yesterday imagine what we could do if we had more hubs,” Canterbury-Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour said. “I’m starting to think that we need mobile vaccine clinics, just to get as many jabs out as fast as possible.”

Year 12 students wait for the Pfizer vaccine at Sydney Olympic Park.

Year 12 students wait for the Pfizer vaccine at Sydney Olympic Park.Credit:Dean Lewins

State member for Lakemba Jihad Dib said his local community had “responded especially well” to the call for vaccination, but queues were not evenly distributed. “We need more vaccine hubs and on a more regular basis,” he said. “It’s not a case of people not wanting to get vaccinated, it is that they shouldn’t have to wait for hours at the one hub in the area.”

Meanwhile, test manufacturers say businesses are “scrambling” to access rapid antigen tests to quickly ramp up the capacity to do daily swabbing of thousands of employees.

“The question is if we can get rapid tests [sent out] to companies fast enough,” said Ian Norton, founder and managing director of Respond Global, that is helping businesses deploy rapid antigen testing in aged care and industry settings.

“There is some chaos right now. We have been advocating for rapid tests but it has come in such a rush it is straining the system,” he said.

The TGA has approved the use of 24 rapid antigen tests, however, they must be performed under the supervision of a health practitioner. Rapid antigen testing costs about $10 per test and gives a result in 10 to 15 minutes.

Local representatives said they were not consulted ahead of the suite of changes to restrictions in Sydney’s south-west and western announced on Friday, including a 9pm to 5am curfew and a one-hour cap on exercise.

Mr Asfour said there was “chaos and confusion” as new rules and tighter restrictions were announced on Friday with little warning.

Cumberland City mayor Steve Christou said the new restrictions were a “major blow to residents of Cumberland”, who are suffering severe hardship.

“There was no consultation, I had a phone call at 10:50am to say that harsher measures would be announced,” he said. “I invite the Premier to come out to Cumberland and see the hardship people are facing. Residents need help.”

Mr Clare said the additional restrictions in south-west Sydney would “just make a lot of people more ticked off”.

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