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Australia: One in four Australians now fully vaccinated

The country’s focus has to stay on suppression and vaccination in this stage of the roadmap out of the pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, as the country reached the mark of having 25 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated.

Mr Morrison said yesterday’s more than 270,000 doses administered was the equivalent to the UK’s fourth best day of vaccinations.

“By now NSW will be more than 50 per cent of the eligible population first dose vaccinated, and other states will soon follow,” he said.

Across the country, almost 15 million doses have been administered so far in the rollout.

Mr Morrison said GPs have completed the bulk of vaccinations across the country.

PM says ‘no decisions’ on individual freedoms for vaccinated

The country’s leaders discussed exemptions for vaccinated Australians in today’s national cabinet meeting, after WA Premier Mark McGowan announced the state would introduce vaccine requirements for travellers from NSW.

“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,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“We are continuing to work through that. No decisions on that yet.“

Any changes would take place once 70 per cent of the eligible population had been vaccinated and the country was able to move into the second “transition” phase of the roadmap which would also see fewer lockdowns and an increase in return international travellers.

But with a current focus on suppression was needed until vaccine rates increase. That means more economic support for businesses and individuals who have lost work, Mr Morrison said.

“Because of these lockdowns, we do need business support put in place and we agree that the most effective way to do that is state-by-state because they are all coming at this from a different place, with different challenges they need to address,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer says Australia ‘clearly’ in third wave

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said Australia was clearly experiencing its third wave of the pandemic, with outbreaks now in four different states and territories, and hundreds of cases a day in NSW alone.

The outbreak in Queensland was largely under control, he said, with most cases in quarantine for their entire infectious period.

“That is not a concern at the moment,” he said, and added Victoria’s situation was similar and coming under control.

Professor Kelly said the ACT was experiencing its first outbreak in more than a year, and the territory was still learning and getting support from other jurisdictions.

“[There is] a complex web of exposure site and that will play out in the next few days,” he said of the ACT.

Professor Kelly said while there were hundreds of new cases each day in NSW, there were some important differences between the current outbreak and the second wave experienced in Victoria last year, with fewer hospitalisations and deaths.

“This is a really important point and absolutely goes to why we were asking people to get vaccinated – vaccination is protecting Australians,” he said.