A Maitland doctor surgery is offering a $10,000 prize to encourage more people to have a COVID-19 vaccine.
The move comes as vaccination bookings at Lorn Surgery's Maitland Showground clinic have plummeted.
Since the federal government announced Pfizer would be available to 16 to 39 year olds from the end of August, more have chosen to wait instead of booking an Astra Zeneca shot.
Tuesday's clinic saw about 400 people vaccinated with AZ. Just weeks ago more than 1000 people were vaccinated. The supply of Pfizer in Maitland has been slow and appointments before November hard to find.
Lorn Surgery GP Dr Craig Richards has warned there could be 1200 cases of COVID-19 in Maitland by Christmas and up to 5500 in the Hunter, depending on the effectiveness of contact tracing and social distancing.
"People are going to be caught out thinking they will be able to get Pfizer before the restrictions decrease. It's probably unlikely," he said.
"The government is very keen to get people back to work and open up the community and the economy but they are doing that before everybody has had the opportunity to be vaccinated."
Dr Richards used modelling in the Doherty Institute report - which is guiding the country out of lockdown - to calculate the expected case numbers. He says the state and federal government's 80 per cent vaccination target needs to be even higher.
He is pushing for a "COVID fortress" in Maitland and says the city needs a 95 per cent vaccination rate if residents want to live in a world on par with pre-COVID times.
"At a 95.5 per cent vaccination rate it means there will be a slower spread through the community and there will be a smaller peak in hospitalisations and the need for ventilators and a lower death rate overall," Dr Richards said.
"That's the rate we achieve with childhood vaccinations consistently, for years. There is no reason to think people are going to take their own health less seriously than the health of their children."
The surgery decided to offer a prize to help entice people to have the jab. Anybody who has their jabs there has a chance to win the money. The prize will be drawn before Christmas.
"Maitland is going to have the same problem that the rest of the world has had - and that is that this will be a pandemic among the unvaccinated. People who are vaccinated will still catch COVID but they are much less likely to become seriously unwell with it," he said.
The clinic offers AZ and was promised Pfizer in October but hasn't had any further correspondence about its arrival.
A spokesman for the Primary Health Network told the Mercury this week that Pfizer would be rolled out in GPs within the next three weeks.
The Mercury was unable to find out how many doses would be allocated to the city. Hunter New England Health could not offer any details about Maitland's supply.
Dr Richards said the government was determined to open the community back up as soon as possible, but from a health perspective he thought it better to wait until the end of the year aiming for a 95 per cent vax rate.