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  • Jason Regan

NSW's $4 billion spend on pandemic health

In the past two years, the NSW government has committed more than $4 billion to the state's health system to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The staggering figure was revealed by the incoming boss of NSW Health Susan Pearce on Tuesday. Her appointment was announced in a joint statement from Premier Dominic Perrottet, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Regional Health Minister Bronnie Taylor.

Ms Pearce, the current deputy secretary, will take over the role from Elizabeth Koff, who called her successor "highly talented" with a "very successful track record" who is passionate about healthcare.

Ms Pearce said Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the state's COVID-19 vaccination program, which had delivered more than 16.6 million jabs.

More than half of people 16 and older - 51.7 per cent - have now had a booster.

In children, 86.3 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds have had one dose of a vaccine, 79 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds have had two doses and 46.7 per cent of five to 11-year-olds have had one dose.

"For the next two weekends, people can simply show up to a NSW Health clinic for walk-in vaccinations for the whole family, no appointments required," Ms Pearce said.

Meanwhile, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has welcomed a move to roll back isolation rules for close contacts of COVID-19 patients, as the state marks one year since the beginning of its mass vaccine rollout.

Health officials from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee in NSW and Victoria are now considering scrapping a requirement for household contacts of COVID-positive people to isolate for seven days.

The guidelines, already in place for frontline workers, allow people exposed to COVID-19 to keep working if they have no symptoms and can wear protective equipment.

"Obviously over summer, and particularly in relation to nursing, the decision was made to allow household contacts who are asymptomatic in critical sectors to continue to work if they follow testing requirements and (wear personal protective equipment)," Mr Hunt said Tuesday.
"The next step is to consider expanding that definition through the AHPPC … and it has worked well with our nurses.
"People have been very responsible. If they've had symptoms, they've not come to work."


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