Australia hits major vaccine milestone

Courtney GouldNCA NewsWire
80 per cent of Australians have recieved their first jab of the vaccine.
Camera Icon80 per cent of Australians have recieved their first jab of the vaccine. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Australia is storming towards the first major vaccine benchmark with new data revealing 80 per cent of the eligible population have rolled up their sleeves to receive their first Covid jab.

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Tuesday celebrated the milestone as a national achievement but cautioned there was still more work to be done.

“As of about 10.30am this morning, Australia will have achieved the 80 per cent first vaccination rate,” he said.

“That’s a huge national achievement, and it’s a huge tribute to everybody.

“So, I want to thank everybody for coming forward but urge you to keep coming forward.”

Camera IconAustralians now have a choice of which vaccine they would like to receive. NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled Credit: News Corp Australia

ACT, NSW and Victoria, which are all battling outbreaks of the Delta variant, are leading the country in vaccination rates.

More than 90 per cent of Canberrans have received the first dose of the vaccine, with NSW and Victoria not far behind on 88 per cent and 82 per cent respectively.

Nationally, 57.4 per cent of eligible Australians aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.

But vaccination rates in parts of the country which have not experienced an outbreak, such as Queensland and Western Australia, are lagging behind.

With three vaccines now available across the nation, Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy said there were no excuses.

“We‘re seeing huge enthusiasm for vaccine uptake in those areas where there are outbreaks. We need that same enthusiasm in areas where there is no Covid,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“If you‘re someone who has been complacent, hesitant, not too worried because there’s no Covid, now is the time to make your vaccination appointment.

Camera IconA choice of a vaccine means there is no longer any excuses not to get vaccinated, Brendan Murphy says. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

“We have three incredibly effective vaccines. There is plenty of vaccine. There are plenty of points of presence, there’s free choice for vaccines. Please, please, go and get vaccinated now.

It comes as the government confirmed it had purchased 300,000 courses of the first antiviral pill developed to treat Covid-19.

Interim clinical trial results of molnupiravir have shown the drug cut the chance of patients being hospitalised by 50 per cent and dramatically reduced the risk of death.

But Australians have been urged not to baulk at vaccines due to the treatment.

“These treatments are not 100 per cent effective, they're not perfect,” Dr Murphy said.

“As the minister has said, the single most important thing, Australians can do is get vaccinated.”

Originally published as Australia hits major vaccine milestone

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