A leading health expert says there won’t be a great decline in the number of people being hospitalised for COVID-19 until there is a higher vaccination rate for over-40s.
People aged over 40 represent about two-thirds of COVID-19 patients in hospital.
“Once we get the 40 years and over vaccinated fully, then we’ll start to see that great decline in hospitalisation,” epidemiologist Mary Louise McLaws told the ABC.
Official figures show 67.4 per cent of over-40s across the country have received a first dose and 44.7 per cent have received their two doses.
Professor McLaws said one dose gave a person 75 per cent protection in terms of likely hospitalisation, while that rises to the mid-90s after a second dose.
October is expected to be the worst month for hospitalisations in the hardest-hit state of NSW, where 1290 cases were recorded on Monday.
Four deaths took the national toll to 1003 since the start of the pandemic.
An unvaccinated man in his 50s who died at Dubbo hospital was Australia’s first Indigenous coronavirus death.
Labor frontbencher and indigenous MP Linda Burney said the man’s death could have been prevented, blaming the Morrison government’s slow vaccine rollout.
“We know that the federal government was warned back in March 2020 that this was going to be the outcome if they did not step in,” she said.
There were 73 new cases in Victoria, which has been unable to stamp out an outbreak despite an extended lockdown.
Australia has fully vaccinated 34.41 per cent of its population aged 16 and over, while almost 55 per cent have received one jab.
Tasmania leads the nation on full vaccination rates, with 41.5 per cent of its residents double-dosed.
Western Australia continues to lag the rest of the nation, having a 31.1 per cent full vaccination rate.
Canberrans are set to learn on Tuesday whether the national capital’s lockdown will be extended.
The ACT recorded 12 new cases on Monday.