Some schools were also concerned the message would not have reached students over the weekend. “They are emailing and phoning us last night and this morning saying they have booked for Monday morning and want to know when the bus leaves from school,” one principal said.
Labor MP Anoulack Chanthivong, the member for Macquarie Fields in the NSW lower house, said students in the Campbelltown and Liverpool areas should be able to get vaccinated at the new hub there.
“Convenient access to vaccinations is vital … This would significantly reduce travel times and help limit exposure at a time when we need to be doing whatever we can to get on top of this outbreak,” he said.
“Sadly, I expect that some of our more disadvantaged students would [be unlikely to] make the journey to Olympic Park and not get vaccinated at all.”
At her Monday press conference, Ms Berejiklian said the government wanted more students to book in for their vaccinations as bookings remained below capacity.
“We’re wanting more people to come forward. I know thousands have already made their bookings but we have around 20,000 [available] and I don’t think we have reached anywhere near capacity yet,” she said.
“If you’re experiencing any glitches or difficulties, contact a hotline, even contact someone you know in the school community.
“We’re really keen to have students come forward and get vaccinated. It will ensure they can attend their exams without risk of hospitalisation and with a reduced risk of spreading the virus if they happen to have it.”
Humzah Ghaffar from Greenacre, who is in year 11 but sitting his HSC business studies course this year, was dropped off by his father. While he was mostly staying home anyway – even before the lockdown restrictions – he said the jab offered him an “extra level of security”.
“I definitely feel safer being vaccinated,” he said. “I thought it was helpful, it’s a lot simpler streamlining vaccinations [like this].”
The NSW government has said the year 12 vaccinations are an important part of returning to school and running the HSC exams later this year, but authorities have not yet said what will happen to students who are not vaccinated.
More than 70 university students from the medicine, nursing and paramedicine disciplines at Western Sydney University will be part of the workforce vaccinating year 12 students this week, after volunteering as part of a “Western students for Western students” initiative organised by the Western Sydney Local Health District.
The university’s pro vice-chancellor of health and medicine, Professor Annemarie Hennessy, said it would make an “enormous difference to the students and our local communities of western and south-western Sydney at this critical time”.
“It will lift vaccination rates and help keep our year 12 students – who have had their learning so disrupted by this pandemic – safe in the classroom and able to focus on their final year exams,” she said.
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