TEENS will be able to get vaccinated without appointments across the Hunter this weekend as part of an immunisation blitz organised by the health service.
The Super Pfizer Walk-in Vaccination Weekend for 12-15-year-olds will take place at the Belmont Hub, Kurri Kurri Guide Hall, and hospitals in Cessnock, Muswellbrook, Tamworth, Armidale and Moree on Saturday and Sunday. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The Herald reported on Wednesday that an estimated 11,500 of the region's 33,000 children aged 12 to 15 have received both doses of the vaccine based on the NSW average of 35 per cent.
Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said she would like to see more high school students vaccinated as most face-to-face learning resumes from Monday.
"With school returning, the 12- to 15-year-olds have got vaccinated at a very high rate, but we are seeing that slowing a little bit," she said.
"So could we just get that last 25 per cent of the 12- to 15-year-olds vaccinated. It's one additional layer of protection as schools go back and we get added mixing."
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It comes as more than 60 fresh cases on Friday have reaffirmed the Hunter's position as one of the state's COVID hotspots.
The Hunter New England district added 61 cases, just two shy of South Western Sydney's 63 and clear of Western Sydney's 40 cases. The Central Coast had 25.
In the Hunter 29 cases were infectious in the community, with the status of another 10 under investigation.
There are 963 active cases in the region, four in intensive care among 21 in hospital. Newcastle had 17 cases, with 10 in Lake Macquarie and nine in Midcoast local government area.
Cessnock had seven, Maitland six and four apiece in Port Stephens and Tamworth. Singleton had three cases, with just one added in Dungog.
Testing data for the region also shows a drop in screening for COVID-19, with many parts of the Hunter recording less than 100 tests per day over the last week.
Newcastle's testing tally dropped below 1000 on Thursday, down from a high of more than 1400 on Wednesday. Lake Macquarie led the region on Thursday, the last complete day of data, with 1374 tests conducted.
Maitland testing rates outstripped those in Cessnock and Port Stephens while Muswellbrook, Dungog and Upper Hunter shires did not record a day with more than 100 tests in the past week.
Across NSW there were five deaths and 345 new cases on Friday.
The five deaths were in Sydney hospitals. NSW Health said one person was unvaccinated, two had received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and the remaining two had been double dosed. One person was in their 30s, one in their 50s, one in their 70s, one in their 80s and one in their 90s.
The latest numbers follow changes allowing gym and dance class participants to remove masks while exercising. They must still be worn in gyms while not exercising, and remain mandatory for non-participating staff.
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