The Byron Shire has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination levels in the state, according to Federal Government figures, suggesting that a significant proportion of the community may be reluctant to get the jab.
An Echo analysis of figures released by the Commonwealth Department of Health last week shows that 28.7 per cent of Byron residents over 15 years of age are fully vaccinated.
This is well below the overall level for NSW, which stands at 43.5 per cent. The proportion of locals over 15 who have had their first dose is also significantly lower than for the state as a whole – standing at 52 per cent, compared with 77.3 per cent for all of NSW.
Remote areas least vaccinated
There are just a handful of Local Government Areas (LGAs) across NSW that have lower vaccination rates than Byron.
These are mostly in more remote regional areas which have had little contact with the virus, and where there is less access to vaccination centres and GPs.
According to the figures, the LGA with the lowest first dose vaccination rate is Edward River (47.0 per cent) which is located in the Western Riverina region.
Byron also has the lowest vaccination rate in the NSW Northern Rivers. It is well behind Ballina, where 64 per cent of the population have had their first dose and 42 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated.
The Tweed also has higher vaccination levels, with 62 per cent having had their first dose and 36 per cent having had their second.
Lismore LGA has the closest vaccination level to Byron, with 57 per cent of residents having received one dose and 31 per cent having been fully vaccinated.