Australia hits 50 pct vaccination coverage

(New Zealand Ministry of Health via AP)

Half of Australia’s population aged 16 and above has been vaccinated against coronavirus.

A record 347,796 doses were administered in the past 24 hours, fuelling the milestone as the nation edges towards 70 and 80 per cent coverage targets.

Almost three-quarters of people 16 and over have received at least a first dose.

Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan urged anyone in the remaining 25 per cent to get vaccinated so Australia could return to normal life.

“We should all be incredibly grateful and proud of what we are achieving as a country,” she told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

“Each time anybody gets a vaccine, it takes us a step closer to those things that we are all missing for all of us who continue to be under restrictions.”

Vaccine rollout co-ordinator John Frewen said Australia would receive its full allocation of 11 million Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines in October despite concerns of a shortfall.

Lieutenant General Frewen said Pfizer had confirmed delivery schedules across the month after a global distribution issue was solved.

National cabinet was last week warned October’s Pfizer supplies could be up to 2.5 million below what was originally planned.

“At that stage we only had the first two weeks – and what we received in the first two weeks was half of what we were anticipating,” Lt Gen Frewen said.

“Pfizer have now said they will make up the full month’s allocation across week three and, we expect, week four.”

Outbreaks in NSW and Victoria continue to rage with more than 1700 new cases in Australia’s most populous states on Friday.

A man who attended Wednesday’s anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne is being treated for coronavirus in hospital.

There were 1043 infections in NSW and 11 deaths, while Victoria reported 733 cases and another fatality.

Canberra recorded 19 new cases.

NSW – where 57.8 per cent have been fully vaccinated – is on track to reach the nationally agreed targets ahead of COVID-free states such as Queensland and Western Australia.

Victoria and South Australia are about 46.5 per cent, while Queensland and WA are hovering at 44 per cent.

The ACT – which like NSW and Victoria remains in lockdown – leads the nation with 59.5 per cent double-dose coverage, while Tasmania has reached 55.1 per cent.

The NT is on 50 per cent.


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