Vast majority of ICU patients unvaccinated

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Just two per cent of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care since Australia’s vaccine rollout started were fully vaccinated.

New figures underscoring the power of immunisation have revealed a whopping 86 per cent of people needing intensive care treatment had not received a single dose.

Monash University’s SPRINT-SARI project examined 574 ICU admissions since February 22, when the first coronavirus vaccines started to be rolled out across the nation.

Only 13 people, or two per cent, had received two doses, while 69 – the equivalent to 12 per cent – had a single shot.

The remaining 492 patients were unvaccinated.

Infectious diseases epidemiology professor Allen Cheng said younger people including pregnant women were featuring more prominently in intensive care admissions in recent weeks.

“The shift in age of those admitted to ICUs is anticipated, given older Australians were prioritised during the early phases of rollout,” he said on Wednesday.

“These figures again underscore just how much protection vaccinations offer in terms of your likelihood of getting seriously unwell with COVID-19.”

SPRINT-SARI is a hospital-based surveillance database tracks the sickest coronavirus patients in Australian hospitals and intensive care units.

Intensive care director at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital Stephen Warrillow said staff were more fatigued during last year’s Victorian second wave.

“There is a growing numbers. We have had additional admissions overnight,” he told the Nine Network.

Dr Warrillow said getting the community as close to 100 per cent vaccinated was crucial with no fully vaccinated person admitted to ICU at his hospital during this outbreak.

National vaccine rollout co-ordinator John Frewen said projections showed Australia could hit 70 per cent double-dose coverage for people aged 16 and over in October.

“It is possible to get to 80 per cent this year but the variable here is people and people’s preparedness to get vaccinated,” he told ABC radio.

Lieutenant General Frewen said international experience showed getting from 70 to 80 per cent was difficult.

But he is encouraged by public sentiment surveys showing more than 80 per cent intend to receive a jab, another group are unsure and only a small percentage are anti-vaccination.

Australia should pass 70 per cent first dose vaccination coverage for people aged 16 and above by the end of this week.

More than 43 per cent have full protection. 

So far 59,000 children aged 12 to 15 have received a shot.

In NSW, there were 1127 new cases on Tuesday, while Victoria’s reported 445 infections.

There were 22 new cases in Canberra where a lockdown has been extended for another four weeks.


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