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NSW, Victoria report 40 new COVID-19 deaths as the TGA approves AstraZeneca booster

Another 24 people have died after contracting COVID-19 in New South Wales, along with 16 others in Victoria.

The number of patients in NSW hospitals fell from 1,906 to 1,795.

Of those, 121 are in ICU, dropping from 132 on Wednesday and Monday’s 137.

The state reported 10,130 new cases of COVID-19, which is a slight drop from 10,312 on Wednesday but up from 9,690 on Tuesday.

More than 1,600 people have died after contracting the virus in NSW. 

Premier Dominic Perrottet said hospital visitation rules will be tweaked soon after backlash from families who were denied the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones.

He has apologised on behalf of the state and promised to announce changes on Thursday.

The protocols were intended to strike a “difficult balance” between limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the hospital system and making sure family support was available to those gravely ill and dying, he said.

Meanwhile, in Victoria, 543 people are in hospital after contracting COVID-19, slightly up from 542 on Tuesday, with 75 in ICU and 23 on ventilators.

The state recorded 9,391 new infections, down from 9,908 cases on Wednesday and slightly up from 8,275 cases on Tuesday.

The new cases include 6,045 from rapid antigen tests (RATs) and 3,346 from PCR tests, the health department confirmed on Thursday.

About 48 per cent of Victorians over 18 have received a vaccine booster after 14,863 doses were administered at state-run hubs on Wednesday.

AstraZeneca boosters provisionally approved

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved the AstraZeneca booster for adults, but it is not the preferred option.

The TGA has stressed Pfizer and Moderna remain the preferred booster options, regardless of what vaccines someone has previously received.

A person must talk to a doctor and receive approval before receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

“The decision to receive Vaxzevria [AstraZeneca] as a booster must be made in consultation with a medical professional,” the TGA said in a statement.

With AAP. Source: