Doctors are preparing for a third wave of vaccinations, as a rural medical group warns against rolling back restrictions.
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia this week urged state governments to "resist the temptation" to lift safety rules in light of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The mutation of the coronavirus has already spread outside Sydney, but little is known for sure about the declared variant of concern.
Tamworth Doctor Ian Kamerman said his East Tamworth Medical Centre in NSW's northeast was preparing for a wave of people seeking booster shots.
With most local government areas in the region approaching or exceeding 90 per cent vaccination of adults, booster vaccination would begin in earnest in about January.
"We're starting very early days of booster shots," he said.
"And really getting to the tail end of those that want to be considered for vaccination actually taking up the opportunity for vaccination.
"Virtually everyone I've talked to is vaccinated. Very few people would be objectors that have decided not to have vaccinations.'
Association president Dr Megan Belot urged the government to maintain the requirement to wear masks when indoors, and to continue to require checking in at venues.
She said the "jury is still out on Omicron and how much of a threat it could be".
"While there is some conjecture that this variant may become the dominant strain of the virus and be less likely to cause serious disease, it will take time to ascertain this - and it is far from guaranteed," she said.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he is "not keen to see a return of lockdowns" in response to the spread of Omicron this week.
Dr Belot said the new Omicron variant reminds us we have a long way to go, and we need to be cautious.
She said too many people are acting as though the pandemic is a thing of the past.
"We really don't want to end up in lockdown again," she said.
Dr Kamerman said the state government should decide and then announce which restrictions are going to be permanent, even after the end of the pandemic.
"Should we always wear a mask on public transport? Yes we probably should. Should we always wear a mask in a lift, or should we have reduced occupancy in a life? Yeah we probably should," he said.
"Should we always wear a mask in a hospital, or a doctor's surgery? Yeah. We probably should as well.
"I'd like a series of announcements as to okay what's permanent, or are we really going to go back to what it was like before?"
He said quite strict public health interventions like contact tracing and mandatory treatment used to be routine in the fight against old diseases like Syphilis and HIV.
"This is nothing new in the face of serious communicable diseases. We've always had these protections in place ever since the germ theory has been discovered," he said.