The NSW chief health officer has warned the state’s residents that COVID-19 vaccinations don’t kick in for at least 12 days, with a vaccinated Sydney hotel quarantine worker coming down with the virus.
The Sydney man’s positive result was recorded after 8pm on Saturday, meaning the state’s virus-free run will end at 56 days.
NSW Health said in a statement the source of the security guard’s infection remains unclear and testing of his close contacts is underway.
His family is isolating and has so far returned negative results.
The 47-year-old man worked at both the Sofitel Wentworth and Mantra at Haymarket hotels in inner Sydney, and had already received his first Pfizer jab.
A number of venues are now considered at low risk of COVID-19 transmission, including Bexley Aquatic Centre and Pancakes on the Rocks at Beverly Hills on the morning of March 13.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told reporters on Sunday the man likely picked up the virus while working at the Sofitel overnight on March 6.
She said the state’s contact tracers would track the man’s movements since March 8 to ensure no potential hotspots are missed, and said the 47-year-old also had a separate job in an office environment.
Dr Chant reiterated that the Pfizer vaccine would not provide protection against COVID-19 for at least 12 days after a person is injected. The second dose three weeks later would further increase virus protection.
The man had received his first Pfizer dose on March 2.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly also reported a time lag between receiving the vaccine and its protection kicking in, particularly with the Pfizer jab.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard, meanwhile, emphasised the key purpose of the COVID-19 jab was to reduce the incidence of severe illness and death.
“The antibody reaction required from vaccination doesn’t achieve its maximum for some time after the first, indeed the second, vaccination,” he said.
“The purpose of vaccination is to ensure you’ve had your two doses … it makes you far less likely to get as sick as you’d get, and far less likely to die.
“I’m relatively relaxed today knowing we have the systems in place that we have and I’m also relaxed about the fact the testing did its job, picked up the gentleman … the message from this is, don’t be complacent.”
NSW Police also said in a statement that it would help NSW Health in its contact tracing by reviewing CCTV, conducting interviews and analysing rosters.
Meanwhile, NSW Health says anyone who has arrived in NSW from Queensland since March 11 should follow the Queensland government’s health advice and avoid NSW aged care homes and hospitals until further notice.
It comes after a doctor last week contracted COVID-19 from a patient at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Those who have entered NSW and attended the Brisbane venues on the health alert list should immediately self-isolate and contact NSW Health.
“The emergence of these new cases underscores the need for continued community vigilance for any signs and symptoms that could be COVID-19,” NSW Health said.
“It is critical that everyone continues to practise COVID-safe behaviours and that people come forward for testing.”