Australia reaches 80 per cent vaccination

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Australia has reached 80 per cent full vaccination against COVID-19.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says a further nine per cent of the population aged 16 or over has also received a first vaccine dose although inoculation levels vary from state to state.

Mr Morrison has called the achievement "another magnificent milestone".

"A huge thank you to everyone," he said on Facebook on Saturday morning.

"This has been a massive Australian national effort and the work doesn't stop here. We are on track to have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world."

The PM also made special mention of older Australians for leading the way.

"Ninety-nine per cent of Australians aged over 70 have had a first jab and over 90 per cent have had a second," he said.

"That's just extraordinary."

Meanwhile, hospitals, aged care facilities and schools are among the high-risk settings where workers and visitors could face rapid testing under a yet-to-be developed federal plan.

National cabinet on Friday agreed that the federal health department and Australian Health Protection Principal Committee will work on creating a nationally consistent framework for the use of rapid antigen tests.

It will guide authorities across the nation on how often the tests should be done and the implication of positive results, while also recommending high-risk settings for the screening.

Australian health authorities have previously been cautious to expand the use of rapid antigen tests given they are less reliable than PCR swabs.

In a further take-out from the first national cabinet meeting in more than a month, states and territories will consider changes to isolation requirements for fully vaccinated primary close contacts, including no or minimal quarantine for up to seven days.

Casual contacts would only be asked to seek testing and isolate if experiencing symptoms but avoid high-risk settings until they return a negative result.

Victoria and NSW have already reduced the time most fully-vaccinated primary close contacts have to serve in isolation from 14 to seven days, while casual contacts can leave quarantine once they return a negative.

The federal government has also pledged to start vaccinating five to 11-year-old children, if backed by the national medicines regulator and immunisation advisory group.

Victoria recorded 1268 new locally acquired cases on Saturday along with seven more virus-related deaths. NSW registered 270 cases and three deaths, the ACT 18 cases and Queensland one.

The source of the Northern Territory's first community COVID outbreak remains a mystery, with one new case also detected in the Top End.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting