Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced during a press conference on August 19 that more than 16 million vaccines have now been administered right across the country. There are now 215 doses being administered every minute.
“These are extraordinary marks that the national vaccination program is now achieving. One in two eligible Australians has now had their first dose. One in two,” Mr Morrison said.
“There are more people who are eligible who’ve had their vaccine than have not had their vaccine in Australia today. That is a major turning point, that is a major beachhead that is being gained in the national vaccination program to see this realised.”
Meanwhile, almost a third (28.2%) of eligible Australians are now fully vaccinated.
Over half (54.9%) of Australians aged 70 and over have been fully vaccinated and 84.2% have received their first dose.
Three-quarters (73.4%) of those 50 and over have received one dose and 41.1% are now fully vaccinated.
Weekly vaccination rates continued to rise. The number of doses administered each week has been steadily rising. In the week beginning 21 June, about 400,000 Pfizer doses were administered and just under 400,000 AstraZeneca doses were given.
Fast forward to the week of 9 August and about 850,000 and 700,000 doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca were distributed, respectively.
The Prime Minister noted that in New South Wales, most jabs were being provided by GPs and pharmacies.
“The lion's share of what’s being done in New South Wales is actually being done through the GPs and pharmacies, and that’s very important,” he said.
A second shipment of European Pfizer, sponsored by the Polish government, has now been batch tested, cleared, approved by the TGA and is being distributed.
‘COVID zero’ not an option
Importantly, the Prime Minister said reaching zero cases of COVID-19 is not the core objective of the vaccine rollout.
“That has never been Australia's goal, ever,” he said. “What we're seeking to achieve is cases minimised as far as possible, preferably to zero, that are infectious in the community. That's what we'd like to achieve, and we have to act in accordance with that.”
Mr Morrison warned that the lockdown in Sydney must suppress the Delta outbreak before it can be lifted.
“Suppression cannot be dispensed with when you have the vaccination levels we have now,” he said.
“That is hopefully a very clear and cogent explanation of what it is – suppress and vaccinate, drive the cases as low as you possibly can that are infectious in the community, because that, the stronger we go into Phase B at 70%, the better off the whole country is.”
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