Covid Australia: The Victorian suburbs where over 75 PER CENT of residents are already double jabbed
A handful of Victorian towns have defied the state’s slow rollout of the Covid vaccine – with more than 75 percent of adults in a coastal village having a double jab, racing for Melbourne’s stationary 39 percent full vaccination rate.
According to the federal government’s national Covid exit plan, lockdowns will become rare once 70 of those aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, with further freedoms – such as travel at home and abroad – to resume from 80 percent.
Queenscliffe, a 3,000-strong port southwest of the state capital, has reached an impressive pace with 95.9 percent of the population receiving one dose and three in four residents the second.
Surf Coast, in the southwest of the state, and Buloke, in the west, are next on track to meet the national target, with nearly 60 percent of residents doubly vaccinated, well above the national average of 34.3 percent.
Regional Victoria, with a double dose of 47.5 per cent, is ahead of Greater Melbourne (39 per cent), despite Covid outbreaks being largely confined to metropolitan areas.
Only a handful of LGAs in Greater Melbourne – such as Boorondara, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Glen Eira – have fully vaccinated the 50 percent mark – with the rest hovering between 30-46 percent.
This map of Victoria shows first-dose vaccination rates across the state, with more than 50 percent of residents in some parts of locked-down Melbourne yet to receive one Covid shot
Melbourne City Council is doing the worst in the state – with just 28.8 percent of eligible residents rolling up their sleeves for both doses.
But numerous LGAs in regional Victoria fall within the 50-56 percent fully vaccinated group, including Greater Geelong, Yarriambiack, Alpine, Strathbogie, Central Goldfields, Ararat, Mount Alexander, Bass Coast, Southern Grampians, Warrnambool, Benalla, Hepburn, Macedon Ranges and East Gippsland.
The creeping vaccination rate is unwelcome news for the millions of Melbourne residents who are staying strictly at home – allowing them to leave only for essential reasons – as authorities struggle to contain Covid outbreaks.
Shepparton, which was the only other area to be closed off, will be released from midnight Wednesday with its restrictions to mirror the rest of the regions after a local outbreak was brought under control.
Meanwhile, residents of Ballarat will join Melbourne’s restrictions – excluding curfews – for seven days from 11:59pm Wednesday following four cases, multiple exposure sites and wastewater detections in the area.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews announced that restrictions will remain in place until 70 percent of eligible Victorians have received one dose of a Covid vaccine — expected on September 23 — but it’s still unclear what measures would be lifted.
While the vaccine’s rollout in the country has been hampered by limited supplies, the problem in Victoria has worsened after the federal government diverted doses to NSW as it battles the largest Delta outbreak in the country.
Millions of Melbourne residents are facing the city’s sixth lockdown as the vaccine’s slow rollout delays their freedom. In the photo: people are being fished in Melbourne on Tuesday
Victoria, where the number of cases remains high after 423 new infections on Wednesday, is now more than three weeks behind NSW in meeting the 70 percent double dose target, which the northern state expects to reach by mid-October.
Statewide, only about 40 percent of eligible Victorians have been fully vaccinated and about 65 percent have had their first dose — compared to 47.5 percent and 79.5 percent in NSW, respectively.
As Melbourne endures its grueling sixth lockdown, Mr Andrews has come under fire for failing to provide clarity about the freedoms Victorians will enjoy once vaccination targets are met.
Last week, VIC opposition leader Matthew Guy called on the government to prepare plans to get out of lockdown, such as the Covid roadmap prepared by NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian.
In NSW, fully vaccinated people can visit family and friends who have been double stung, eat out, travel and go to the hairdresser, gym or sporting events at a 70 percent double dose rate.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews confirmed that the state’s roadmap to get out of lockdown will be released on Sunday.
The roadmap, which outlines the restrictions through November, will be based on the Burnet Institute’s modeling of vaccination and hospitalization rates.
Guy, however, has criticized the government for “leading the community on for another week.”
He called for an immediate end to the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, outdoor family gatherings and the return of grade 11 and 12 students before the start of semester four.
VICTORIA’S LGA VACCINATION PRICES FROM SEPTEMBER 13
The 10 LGAs with the lowest rates
First dose Fully vaccinated
The 10 LGAs with the Highest Rates
First dose Fully vaccinated
Source: Covid Live
Wednesday’s 423 new coronavirus cases brought the total number of active infections to 4,038, with the state also recording two deaths.
Of the 423 new infections, 149 cases are linked to known outbreaks, and the source of the remaining 274 is under investigation.
In the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, 54,649 tests were processed and 41,856 Victorians received a vaccine dose at a state-run hub, with the number of active cases in the state now 4,038.
There were also two new deaths, taking the toll of the current outbreak in the state to eight.
Andrews also announced that Victorians could be given more freedoms from Friday, with an extra hour of exercise and an expanded travel limit on the table once 70 percent of those eligible have received their first COVID-19 dose.
Only 39 percent of people in Greater Melbourne are fully vaccinated, compared to 47.5 percent in regional Victoria. Pictured: A young boy gets a Pfizer vaccine in Melbourne on Monday
Because his state’s vaccination rates are lagging, Mr Andrews has accused the federal government of giving NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian preferential treatment, claiming Victoria missed about 340,000 doses.
‘We have seen hundreds of thousands of vaccines that should have come and should now be in the arms of Victorians entering Sydney, GP surgeries and NSW,’ Mr Andrews said earlier this month.
“We don’t begrudge the fact that Sydney is in very different circumstances.”
“But that hasn’t been announced. It was done without anyone knowing. The Commonwealth has been caught out. So it has to stop.’
“There were about 340,000 doses that didn’t come to Victoria that they should have, which would have meant we were closer to 70 and 80 percent.”
“It would mean we were closer to ending these lockdowns, so you can see a sense of frustration, and I’m sure others are outraged.”
Meanwhile, NSW residents are counting down
What are the four stages of opening?
A. Vaccinating, preparing and testing (from 14 July)
Arrival caps halved to 3,035 per week; early, severe and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available in apps like Apple Wallet
B. Post-vaccination phase (when 70 percent will be stung, expected by the end of this year)
Lockdowns less likely but possible’; vaccinated people face reduced disabilities; limits for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger limit for vaccinated arrivals with ‘reduced quarantine requirements’; limited entry for students and economic visa holders
C. Consolidation Phase (when 80 percent is pricked, time not announced)
Removal of all outbound travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers; no limits for vaccinated arrivals; increased limits for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles arise with countries like Singapore; booster shots rolled out
D. Final phase (percentage or time not disclosed)
Unlimited arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and unlimited arrivals for unvaccinated people with pre-departure and on-arrival testing