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Major Sydney vaccination hub nears close

A makeshift vaccination hub at a Sydney stadium that administered more than 360,000 COVID-19 jabs will soon shut its doors.

The Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre – once a key battleground in the desperate fight to vaccinate NSW out of a devastating Delta outbreak – will see its last doses administered on Sunday November 7.

With more than 86 per cent of eligible NSW residents now fully vaccinated, the stadium will return to hosting music concerts and events.

The hub was opened on August 9, with workers taking just 12 days to set it up as Sydney’s Delta outbreak worsened.

Since then, the hub has administered more than half of all vaccine doses in the hard-hit Western Sydney Local Health District.

The area now has some of the highest vaccination rates in the state.

In the hub’s first week, almost 16,000 year 12 students lined up for the jab. Some 50,000 authorised workers from so-called local government areas of concern came next. The centre also hosted special drives for emergency services workers, aged care workers, early childhood educators, teachers, younger children, and the LGBTIAQ+ community.

Western Sydney Local Health District chief executive Graeme Loy said the mass vaccination centre was one of the most significant operations in the health district’s history.

Walk-in Pfizer and AstraZeneca doses will be available there until the final day.

The first event at the stadium will be a boxing match between Tim Tszyu and Takeshi Inoue on November 17.

The Backstreet Boys, My Chemical Romance, Kings of Leon and Rod Stewart are due in March.

The state’s huge vaccination push is widely credited with finally bringing case numbers down and avoiding overwhelming hospitalisation numbers.

Some 93.4 per cent of NSW residents over 16 have now received at least one vaccine, with 86.5 per cent fully vaccinated.

Of those aged 12 to 15, 78.5 per cent have had one dose and 54.8 per cent have received both.

NSW reported 293 new local cases on Thursday, 11 fewer than the previous reporting period.

Two people died, including a fully vaccinated woman in her 90s who died at the Tarrawanna aged care facility, north of Wollongong, where she acquired her infection.

A man in his 70s from southwest Sydney died at St George Hospital. He had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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