1 in 4 Australians fully vaccinated as country battles third Covid wave

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One in four eligible Australians are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying it gives all Australians "great hope about the path ahead".

According to Mr Morrison, Australia is now hitting "world-class marks" in vaccinating the population, as the country battles the official "third wave" of the virus. 

"One in four eligible Australians are fully vaccinated in this country," he said during Friday's press conference. "It was 11.6 per cent just one month ago."

One out of four eligible Australians are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.  Source: ABC
One out of four eligible Australians are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Source: ABC

On Thursday, more than 270,000 Australians got the jab.

"It is equivalent in per capita terms to the fourth best day they had in the UK ever," he said.

The Prime Minister said in Tasmania, the ACT and NSW, 50 per cent of the eligible population has received at least one vaccine.

"That is an extraordinary effort... You are doing a great job Australia," he said.

No decisions made yet about travel exceptions for vaccinated people 

Mr Morrison said vaccinated people in Australia could be granted travel exemptions to travel within the country, but there have been "no decisions on that yet". 

"This is done on the basis of public health knowledge that if you are vaccinated you present less of a public risk to yourself and to others around you, your work colleagues, your community and so if people present less of a health risk, then it only stands to reason that you would have different arrangements," he said.

"We are continuing to work through that. No decisions on that yet. As you know, they will take place when we reach those 70 per cent marks and we are making great progress towards that but that work will continue to be done."

Mr Morrison said once more than 80 per cent of the eligible population is vaccinated, border closures should no longer be necessary.

“The whole point of getting to higher and higher levels of vaccination, particularly once you go past 80 per cent is that’s when we’re saying goodbye to lockdowns,” he said.

Employers who don't enforce the vaccination could be protected 

Mr Morrison called on states and territories to protect businesses that don't make the Covid vaccination mandatory, by issuing a guide for protecting employers from work health and safety claims from employees and customers who may get sick.

"I was able to advise that the advice I have received is that workplace health and safety regulators in the states can provide a statement of regulation intent, that a business that does not mandate is not in breach of workplace health and safety rules," he said.

"So protection can be provided to businesses through that process, that may be concerned that by not putting in a mandatory requirement, that they might otherwise be liable for any action that might be brought against them."

"I have advised the states and territories today that through the workplace health and safety regulators they can take action to prevent that situation. So the small business owner may feel under no compulsion to put a mandatory vaccination program in place," he said.

"We think everyone should get vaccinated. That is a public health advice," Mr Morrison said. "But we don't think we should make it mandatory in Australia."

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