Australia's NSW says vaccination pace slows

The government of Australia's New South Wales said on Monday the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations there has slowed.

Authorities there are urging people to get their shots or risk missing out on freedoms when curbs ease next month.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has promised to relax some restrictions for state residents once 70% of adults have received two vaccine doses.

So far, about 46% of the state's adult population has been fully vaccinated.

"For those of you who choose not to be vaccinated, that is your choice, but don't expect to do everything that vaccinated people do even when we hit 80 per cent. And I want to make that very clear. Our strong message today from the Public Health team, from myself and the New South Wales government is come forward and get vaccinated because all of us fear what will happen to those around us who aren't vaccinated but also please think about our hospital staff and those that have to take care of people with COVID, we want to protect them as much as we protect each other and our loved ones."

Australia's vaccination drive was expanded on Monday to include around one million children aged 12-15.

The country is scrambling to control outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant that began in Sydney in June.

It has since spread to to Melbourne and Canberra, plunging nearly half the population of 25 million into lockdown.

A total of 1,257 new cases were registered in New South Wales on Monday, while neighbouring Victoria reported 473 new infections, its biggest one-day rise for 2021.

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