Cambera

Canberra may just be the envy of New Zealand, and soon the world.

Overnight, Australia’s capital marked a major Covid-19 milestone with just over 90 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated – something New Zealand is yet to achieve.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) chief minister Andrew Barr said at a press conference on Wednesday Canberra’s high vaccination rate put the territory in a “strong position” for the nation’s reopening.

“Very pleased the ACT is the first Australian jurisdiction to reach a 90 per cent fully vaccinated rate.”

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The next target was 99 per cent coverage and the bragging rights that go with being one of the most vaccinated cities in the world.

“That’s going to continue to grow over the coming days and in the weeks ahead we will become one of the most vaccinated cities in the world with close to 99 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated,” Barr told media.

Canberra was strides ahead of any New Zealand region, which were also aiming for a 90 per cent vaccination rate.

Auckland was the closest with 82 per cent of the eligible population getting both doses, followed by Capital and Coast (Wellington) and Waitematā. All three Auckland DHBs (Auckland, Waitematā and Counties Manukau) needed to hit 90 per cent to transition to the new traffic light framework.

Looking at national vaccination rates, Aotearoa was still a fair way from the 90 per cent goal with 72 per cent fully vaccinated. Australia, on the other hand, had inched out in front with 74.8 per cent of the eligible population over the age of 16 fully vaccinated.

As of 11.14am (local time) on Wednesday, 90.5 per cent of Canberra’s eligible 12+ population eligible had received both jabs. That’s an increase of 16.1 per centage points since October 14.

“It’s not a race, but we’re happy to take the crown and be the first jurisdiction in Australia to have more than 90 per cent (90.5 per cent) of its residents aged 12+ who have received 2 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine,” ACT Health tweeted on Wednesday.

Reaching the milestone was expected but still came as a surprise for Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake​ from the Australian National University’s medical school.

“I knew we’d do well but not this well.”

Senanayake agreed with Barr in saying that these high rates would protect the territory in the future.

Case numbers in Canberra grew by 10 on Wednesday.
Rohan Thomson/Getty ImagesCase numbers in Canberra grew by 10 on Wednesday.

“That will protect us if infected people do come in from New South Wales.”

The fully vaccinated statistic was made up of around 25,000 kids aged between 12 and 15 years, according to the ABC. This cohort was only offered the Pfizer vaccine in September, while the territory’s entire vaccination programme rolled out in February.

The ACT had been leading the charge in Australia when it came to vaccination rates, on October 19 it became the first Australian jurisdiction to reach 80 per cent fully vaccinated.

Senanayake put the territory’s high vaccine uptake down to its population. He said Canberra was a “very special city” made up of public servants, defence, and university cohorts.

“You’ve got a highly educated, medically literate population.”

He said this population was, generally, good at following instructions. “That’s been a very important part of it.”

One expert thinks Canberra’s demographic played a big part in the region’s high vaccination rate.
Rohan Thomson/Getty ImagesOne expert thinks Canberra’s demographic played a big part in the region’s high vaccination rate.

The size of the ACT also contributed to its successful vaccination campaign. With government sites, pharmacies and GPs all offering vaccinations, people didn’t have to travel far to get the jab – unlike the set up in Sydney or Melbourne where some people had to travel long distances to be vaccinated.

Senanayake thought it was possible for the territory to hit the 99 per cent mark by Christmas, so long as everyone who had already come out for the first dose, returned for the second.

Case numbers were still growing in Canberra with 10​ new cases reported on Wednesday, taking the number of active cases to 280​.

The territory recently emerged from a nine-week lockdown, with more restrictions set to ease on Friday – face masks won’t be mandatory outdoors, but will remain mandatory indoors, and capacity limits for hospitality venues and major events will be relaxed.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/126806735/covid19-canberra-hits-90-fully-vaccinated-becomes-most-vaccinated-in-australia

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