Rollout in focus as one in four vaccinated

Daniel McCulloch
(Australian Associated Press)


One in four Australian adults have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with more than six million jabs administered across the country.

But there is more trouble on the horizon and several high profile figures have issued stark warnings about the sluggish pace of the vaccine rollout.

NSW has recorded a new local case of coronavirus after a Bondi man in his 60s tested positive.

The man has not been overseas recently but has worked as a driver, transporting international flight crews.

The source of infection is unknown.

Health authorities are now scrambling to retrace his steps across Sydney’s east and north to identify exposure sites.

State and federal health officials have convened a meeting to discuss the latest case.

NSW officials are also investigating a potential hotel quarantine breach after guests in adjacent rooms fell ill.

In Victoria, more restrictions are being eased across Melbourne as lockdown rules are slowly lifted.

But hundreds of people in a Southbank apartment complex have been forced into a fresh 14-day lockdown after several residents tested positive.

Health Minister Greg Hunt is upbeat about the vaccine rollout, with another 152,075 people inoculated in the past 24 hours.

It was the second-highest day so far in the vaccine rollout, with strong figures at state centres and GP clinics.

But not everybody shares Mr. Hunt’s optimism.

Former finance minister Mathias Cormann, who now heads a major international economic body, declared the vaccine rollout was a race.

This statement puts him directly at odds with his former cabinet colleagues including Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

But Mr. Cormann said the global vaccination effort had real economic consequences.

“The most important measure to optimise the recovery at this point in time, the economic recovery, is to have an effective and timely globally comprehensive rollout of the vaccine everywhere,” Mr Cormann told Sky News in Paris.

“There is a race in getting a sufficient proportion of the global population vaccinated and the risk of further variants emerging that may be immune to the vaccine.”

Mr. Cormann said the vaccine rollout was clearly accelerating in Australia, particularly in cities gripped by fresh outbreaks and high infection rates.

“From what I’m seeing and what I’m reading there is rapid catch-up in terms of the level of vaccinations in Australia and that is a good thing,” he said.

Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross also raised the vaccine rollout when handing down a decision on the minimum wage.

He said while the economic recovery was well underway, downside risks remained.

“In particular, the risks of domestic outbreaks and of ongoing disruptions to other major economies. The pace of the vaccine rollout also remains a risk,” Justice Ross said.

Almost 95 percent of aged care workers across Australia have been fully protected with both doses of the vaccine.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck played down reports some aged care workers in Victoria were yet to receive their first jab.

He has spoken to Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley, who said the reports were not correct.

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Categories: Health