UPDATED: ACT on target to be one of the most vaccinated places in the world

Ian Bushnell and Genevieve Jacobs 11 October 2021 8
Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr at the AIS Arena Mass Vaccination Clinic, which will now accept walk-ups. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

UPDATED 3 pm: The ACT is tracking to have more than 90 per cent of its eligible population aged over 12 receive their second COVID-19 vaccine by the end of October, making it one of the most vaccinated places in the world.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that the ACT would soon reach 99 per cent for first doses and that the second dose figure should match this by early November.

Driving this vaccination push over coming weeks will be changes to make the vaccines more accessible, including walk-up appointments at the AIS Arena Mass Vaccination Clinic and pop-up testing in selected postcodes to reach people in vulnerable settings who may not be able to travel.

Immuno-compromised people will also be able to get a third dose of Pfizer vaccine from their GP.

Mr Barr said vaccination was now doing the heavy lifting, and the Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine (TTIQ) effort would begin to phase down, and those settings would be updated this week.

“This is just so critical to our economic recovery, to protect our health system and to ensure that Canberrans can emerge from lockdown and the gentle steps that we take over the coming two to four weeks to get back into a more normal life,” he said.

Tomorrow, the ACT Government will provide details of the next step in its Pathway to be implemented on Friday.

On Wednesday and Thursday, it should be able to update cross-border travel rules in coordination with the NSW Government.

But Mr Barr said the current rules would not change dramatically on Friday.

He said the number of postcodes within the Canberra region with exemptions would increase and they would remain the arrangements for the last two weeks of October.

“Beyond the point NSW reaches 80 per cent double dose, they’ve indicated changes, for example, to allow Greater Sydney [residents] to travel into the regions. That will be a trigger point at which the ACT residents would be allowed to travel further into the regions.”

But Mr Barr warned that NSW had said any Canberran caught in Queanbeyan over the next few days would face heavy fines and no one from across the border should come into the ACT for non-essential reasons.

“Today is not an opportunity for ACT residents to cross into NSW for non-essential reasons,” he said.

“Travel will change on Friday, and change again at the end of October and then, in December when NSW drop their vaccinated and unvaccinated status, travel will free up significantly.”

While the number of cases was becoming less important, Mr Barr said the government still wanted to keep them as low as possible.

“The disease is going to become endemic in our community,” he said.

“There will be hundreds and hundreds of cases, but the vaccines will prevent serious illness, and you’ve just got to see what’s happening in NSW and Victoria to know that there aren’t any people in intensive care who are fully vaccinated, there aren’t many people even in hospital who are fully vaccinated,” he said.

“But you can have a breakthrough infection where fully vaccinated people can still get the virus, and carry it with them for days and days, and transmit to others, and they may not even know they’ve got the virus.”

There would still be a need for public health measures and TTIQ arrangements as vaccination rates rise.

“That’s why we’re not having freedom day today. That’s why it will be a gentle step forward on Friday and then another one two weeks after that,” he said.

Mr Barr said the ACT’s vaccination performance showed that Australia should have been much more ambitious with its program.

“I have always viewed 80 per cent as a floor not a ceiling, and I think we have demonstrated that it should always have been a floor,” he said.

Mr Barr said no one had modelled rates of 90 to 95 per cent, and when the ACT argued for more vaccines, the Federal Government did not think it could be done.

“This is a significant achievement,” he said.


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8 Responses to UPDATED: ACT on target to be one of the most vaccinated places in the world
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thebadtouch thebadtouch 7:33 pm 12 Oct 21

As my son said this morning, all this BS about ‘Freedom Day’ just reminds us how enslaved we have become by our politicians and their CHOs.

It’s a disease. Big deal! The world is full of diseases. And we live with every other one of them, without all this crap. Let’s just start living again and accept that Covid is here to stay.

setanta setanta 6:05 pm 12 Oct 21

One of the most vaccinated places in the world…still cannot travel outside ACT! Still cannot travel internationally! Still cannot visit a shop! And still have a Chief Minister who cannot make a decision unless he checks in with the Chief Health Officer! When questioned today about when interstate travel might resume he again said he would have to ask the CHO.

    kenbehrens kenbehrens 8:04 pm 12 Oct 21

    Throughout the pandemic, the Commonwealth and every State and Territory Government have made decisions based on health advice. I’m not sure why you think that “The Chief” would now go rogue and not consult the CHO.

    setanta setanta 11:48 am 13 Oct 21

    I never meant to imply that he shouldn’t consult. I was trying to highlight the absurdity of championing Canberra as the most vaccinated city in the world while still in lockdown. The medical advice just a few short kilometers away seems to differ from the ACT. Thank you for telling me how i should think.. Luckily freedom of expression doesn’t need Government or Health permission so we can both still have differing opinions.

Futureproof Futureproof 4:47 am 12 Oct 21

Freedom of thought until the government figures out how to tax that

snapperboat snapperboat 7:17 pm 11 Oct 21

‘Freedom Day’ next Friday? What? We’ll still be wearing masks indoors and out, travel is still prohibited, schools are still mostly closed, retail remains closed, et cetera ad nausea. We are the most highly vaccinated population in the country and what does the Territory Government do? Throw nothing but a few crumbs our way and revel in the public servants parrotting the newspeak party line about freedom.

Ken Mansell Ken Mansell 1:25 pm 11 Oct 21

“Chief Minister Andrew Barr said 98 per cent of Canberrans aged 12 and over had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Based on forward bookings, Mr Barr said it was likely the ACT would reach 99 per cent first dose.”

According to the Federal Department of Health Medicare data there are 344,070 residents of the ACT 12 years old or over. So today there are only 6,882 people 12+ who have not had a first dose, and soon there will only be 3,441 people 12+ who have not had a first dose in the ACT.

MERC600 MERC600 12:15 pm 11 Oct 21

NSW have ‘freedom day ‘ today.
We have ours next Friday.
Flowers in the garden are blooming and the birds are a tweeting.
The ACT Remuneration Tribunal has granted a 1.8 per cent pay rise to the ACT’s politicians and senior public servants .
Yes things are definitely returning to some sort of normality.

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