Mr Hazzard made the comments during a COVID-19 update press conference on Monday, pointing out the pressure unvaccinated people are placing on “exhausted” hospital staff.
“The latest data from NSW Health shows that in this Omicron wave, if you are not fully vaccinated, you are six times more likely to end up in hospital and 13 times more likely to end up in ICU,” he said.
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Unvaccinated putting health workers ‘at risk’: Hazzard
“That means you are requiring the assistance of the health staff who are already exhausted,” he said.
Mr Hazzard also said those who had chosen to remain unvaccinated were placing themselves over the community.
“Can I just say to those people who have chosen not to get vaccinated – it’s time to give a damn about someone other than yourself.
“Give a damn about your community, your family and most particularly, the health staff across New South Wales who you expect to be looking after you, if and when, you end up in our hospital system. Thank you.”
Rising pressure on NSW paramedics
NSW recorded 29,504 positive tests, 2776 hospitalisations – including 203 in ICU – and 17 deaths in the latest reporting period on Monday.
Dr Lucy Morgan, a lung specialist, also spoke at the press conference about the strain being placed on the hospital system by the almost two-year long pandemic.
“We are exhausted. And in responding to the unprecedented demands, the thousands of patients presenting to our hospitals every day, our capacity to manage everything else has also really changed.
“In the short-term, that’s okay.
“But in the long-term, and it’s two years now, this is bad.
“It’s really hard on us and it’s really hard on the people of New South Wales because this is leading to some delayed diagnosis, some longer waiting times for everything and a huge burden on our community as we try to keep everything ticking over,” she said.
‘Wake up to yourselves’: Hazzard berates ‘disbelievers’ who won’t get COVID jab
Dr Morgan emphasised the importance of the vaccine program in keeping people out of NSW’s hospitals.
“This made an enormous difference to the people of New South Wales. We saved lots of lives
“That was the most important thing we could do for each other at that time. And we, as a community, were protected from the severe illness that COVID, the Delta variant caused.”
However, she pointed out that the Omicron variant could still cause “severe illness” especially among unvaccinated people.
“Omicron, as a variant of the COVID-19 virus, has the potential to cause very severe illness, just like Delta.
“And those at particular risk of getting very sick from Omicron are the same group who were at risk from Delta. Those who are incompletely vaccinated, those with underlying health complaints or conditions and those who are frail,” she said.