Australia achieves 80pc fully vaccinated status, find out what changes you

"A vaccination program for children aged 5-11 years will be implemented if supported by upcoming regulatory decisions from the TGA and advice from ATAGI."

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to expand with more than 80 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over are now fully vaccinated, including more than 87 per cent of over 50-year-olds and more than 92 per cent of Australians over 70 years of age.

To date, 36.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia, including a record 181,833 doses in the previous 24 hours.

In the previous 7 days, more than 1.1 million vaccines have been administered in Australia. More than 89 per cent of the Australian population aged 16 years and over have now had the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including over 95 per cent of over 50-year-olds and more than 99 per cent of over 70-year-olds. 

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In a video message on social media, Prime Minister Scott Morrison congratulated Australians on reaching the 80 per cent vaccination target. He described it as a “magnificent milestone.”

“That’s four out of five, how good is that? This has been a true Australian national effort,”

Mr Morrison said.

“A big thanks goes to our nurses, our doctors, our healthcare workers and pharmacists, everyone who has been involved in this extraordinary effort,” added PM Morrison.

Vaccination and Booster Plans

National Cabinet discussed the roll out of the booster program following approvals by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Australian Technology Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) supporting COVID-19 boosters for Australians aged 18 and over who have received two doses at least six months ago. 

The booster program has commenced for immunocompromised Australians and high priority groups. Already around 150,000 third doses have been administered.

The booster program will open more broadly on 8 November 2021.

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The booster roll out will continue to utilise the existing vaccination infrastructure with around 10,000 general practices and pharmacies, augmented by in-reach services and state clinics across Australia.

National Cabinet received advice from the Chief Medical Officer on emerging scientific evidence of the benefits of vaccinating for 5-11-year-olds.

“A vaccination program for children aged 5-11 years will be implemented if supported by upcoming regulatory decisions from the TGA and advice from ATAGI.”

National Plan to Transition Australia’s COVID-19 Response

National Cabinet received its final update from Professor Jodie McVernon from the Doherty Institute on the second phase of modelling work under the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response.

The modelling also confirmed the importance of Streamlined public health responses, such as testing and isolating only close contacts, combined with high vaccination rates, can also reduce transmission risks. It also finds shorter periods of quarantine below 14 days may be effective for vaccinated people testing positive.

Doherty found that localised health strategies may be required with high case numbers and for key high-risk groups, areas, and settings, including Indigenous communities and in schools.

The modelling found that cases resulting from international arrivals will be manageable as 80 per cent or more of the eligible Australian population are fully vaccinated.

Doherty found that surveillance in high-risk areas to identify outbreaks early and contact management can reduce infections, keep schools open and minimise disruptions to face-to-face learning.

Living with COVID-19 – Revised Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine (TTIQ) and Public Health and Social Measures (PHSMs) 

National Cabinet received updated advice from AHPPC on the test, trace, isolate, and quarantine (TTIQ) measures and public health and social measures (PHSMs) in place during the transition to living with COVID-19.

National Cabinet agreed, from Phase C, to adopt a risk-based approach to changes to quarantine arrangements for contacts, including differential arrangements for fully vaccinated close contacts.

For vaccinated primary close contacts:

·       Jurisdictions to adopt an appropriate testing regime

·       Jurisdictions to consider risk-based quarantine arrangements for fully vaccinated primary contacts, including no quarantine or minimal quarantine for up to 7 days

·       Casual contacts, where identified, required only to seek testing and isolate if experiencing symptoms, and avoid high-risk settings until a negative result

·       Unvaccinated close contacts quarantined for 14 days

National Cabinet endorsed the AHPPC papers on vaccinations of home care and disability care workers.

Borders and International Travel

National Cabinet noted the successful reopening of international borders with no quarantine into New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria for fully vaccinated international arrivals. Since the last National Cabinet:

·       Commonwealth has set new caps for vaccinated and unvaccinated inbound arrivals

· One-way travel bubble has reopened with New Zealand

·       Removal of restrictions on outbound travel for fully vaccinated Australians

·       Quarantine free travel into NSW, Victoria, and ACT for fully vaccinated international arrivals, including Australians, permanent residents, immediate family, parents, and exempt foreigners visa holders. Already around 7,000 fully vaccinated travellers have arrived through Sydney and Melbourne Airports

·       Commencement of Pacific Pathways Plan for workers from COVID free Pacific countries

·       Extension of travel exemptions for inbound travel for parents of Australians

·       Singapore two way travel bubble for Singaporean Nationals will commence on 21 November

National Cabinet also noted a paper on international cruise ship reopening.

National Cabinet noted that states and territories will control the recommencement of cruises in each jurisdiction when the Commonwealth Minister for Health and Aged Care has revoked the BioSecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency)(Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential)(Emergency Requirements for Cruise Ships).

Ensuring COVID-19 Outbreak Readiness for Indigenous Communities

National Cabinet noted the risks of COVID-19 outbreaks for Indigenous communities from the easing restrictions in Phases B and C of the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response, particularly where vaccination rates are lower, including in regional and remote communities.

National Cabinet agreed that the Commonwealth and all jurisdictions will update outbreak management plans, in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community sector, and ensure that Emergency Management Australia (EMA) is consulted in the updated planning, and that plans include timely requests for support through EMA where needed, particularly to support localised vaccine acceleration and/or establishing quarantine facilities.

The Commonwealth and all jurisdictions will return to National Cabinet in December with updated outbreak management plans for a final agreement.