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Australia tipped to hit 70 per cent double-dose vax today


Australia is on the cusp of reaching a major national coronavirus vaccine coverage milestone on the path to reopening.

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The 70 per cent target for people aged 16 and over could be reached on Wednesday, as more travel and social restrictions begin to ease.

More than 85 per cent of over-16s have received a first jab, leaving about three million people yet to roll up their sleeves.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia had overtaken the United States in population-wide immunisation coverage.

“We are on track now to ensure that we have one of the world’s highest vaccination rates,” he told parliament.

While the rollout is now surging ahead, the nation remains well behind other developed nations with higher death rates on reopening.

“Sometimes you have to go through a bit of political pain to get it done and get the right outcome,” Morrison told colleagues in Canberra.

NSW and the ACT continue to lead the nation on double-dose vaccination rates with almost 82 per cent in both jurisdictions.

Tasmania is on the verge of hitting 70 per cent, while Victoria is at 68 per cent with Melbourne’s lockdown ending on Friday.

South Australia and the NT are almost at 60 per cent, ahead of Queensland (57.5 per cent) and WA (56.5 per cent).

SA Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens announced yesterday that the Government was working on a “COVID-Ready” plan for when South Australia reaches its 80 per cent vaccination target and starts opening up to the coronavirus-hit eastern states.

He said the plan was days away, but could not provide a specific timeframe as authorities were still waiting for the Doherty Institute to hand down final modelling on the state’s expected surge in COVID cases.

There was one new coronavirus case reported in South Australia yesterday – a woman in her 70s who acquired her infection overseas and has been in a medi-hotel since her arrival.

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