/ 15 October 2021

Vaccination and the race to reopen Australia

Image source: Getty
Image source: Getty

THE SQUIZ
Victoria yesterday broke Australia’s pandemic record with 2,297 new daily cases. It’s a blow after numbers fell earlier this week, and there was talk of a peak being reached. But that hasn’t translated into a rethink of lifting Melbourne’s lockdown when the full-vaccination target reaches 70% next week. It’s full steam ahead… Premier Daniel Andrews says that “the case numbers become less relevant, save and except for this point – case numbers, particularly among unvaccinated people, will translate into a number of hospital patients.” And concerns for the unvaccinated dominate in other states as well.

LIKE WHERE?
NSW is one. It’s expected to reach 80% fully vaxxed next week, and that will bring a further easing of restrictions. But one restriction that is unlikely to be eased is allowing residents from Greater Sydney to travel to the regions. That’s in response to concerns from regional mayors and medicos who say lower vaccination rates and scarce medical resources in the country means limiting the risk of the spread of infection is prudent. And it’s that sentiment that’s behind Queensland (54.7% fully vaccinated) and Western Oz (53.9%) keeping their borders closed, they say. Still, medicos in the Sunshine State say a date needs to be set to give people the drive to get the jab. And in the West, Premier Mark McGowan says the border will reopen when residents are between 80 – 90% fully vaccinated.

RIGHT. ANY OTHER ISSUES I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
Yes. The full vaccination rate for Indigenous people is behind the rest of the population by 23.1%. And while 83.6% of all Aussies aged over 16yo have received one dose, that number is 57.5% for Indigenous people. Despite being a priority in the vaccination rollout when things kicked off in March, officials say the changed expert advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine sent things off course. Since then, the Pfizer vaccine has proven to be easier to transport and store than officials thought, so it’s being rolled out now.

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