It’s a race to 80: The magic number that will let us live with COVID

If 80 per cent of the Australian population can get fully vaccinated, we can gradually return to what we once considered normal life.

29/07/2021 2:39:00 PM

Opinion: If 80 per cent of the Australian population can get fully vaccinated, we can gradually return to what we once considered normal life

If 80 per cent of the Australian population can get fully vaccinated, we can gradually return to what we once considered normal life.

best shot at living with COVID, shows that fully vaccinating 80 per cent of all Australians, and 95 per cent of over-70s, will give us the best chance of gradually returning to normal life – with open borders and no lockdowns. Aiming for anything less would risk a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases that overwhelms our hospitals, sending us back into long lockdowns.

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It’s an ambitious target, but achievable with the right plan. We can get to 80 per cent by the end of year if a vaccine is approved for children under 12. Otherwise, we should aim for March 2022, by vaccinating a higher share of adults.So far getting Australians vaccinated has been seen as the Morrison government’s job. It has comprehensively failed at the first hurdle: securing enough vaccines. From October, supply should no longer be the issue: Australia will soon have enough doses to vaccinate 80 per cent of all Australians. The challenge will instead be getting those shots into arms as quickly as possible.

States can help. They have plenty of skin in the game: the longer the rollout takes, the longer the risk of further lockdowns. Whereas the faster that states can drive up their own vaccination rates, the easier their own fight against COVID-19 will be. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has already expressed frustration that NSW has not been allocated enough doses, especially as the current outbreak rages. And if NSW, or any state, can reach 80 per cent vaccine coverage on its own it can confidently relax almost all restrictions – regardless of the state of the national vaccine rollout.

The federal government should let them help. Under its current plan, the federal government will allocate between just a fifth and one quarter of vaccine doses from August to December to state-run facilities. The bulk of the rollout is to be left to GPs. This balance is wrong. GPs are an important part of the rollout – about half of Australians who had not been vaccinated in June said they would prefer to receive their vaccine from a GP. But many people don’t have a regular GP, and there are limits on how many doses GPs can administer. We should be much more ambitious.

The state clinics that already exist – like the one at Sydney Olympic Park – are much more efficient. They can deliver up to 1400 doses every eight hours, about two-to-five times more than GPs. They can offer walk-ins, and they are highly visible.The states should expand state vaccination centres to make it as easy as possible for anyone who wants a jab to get one. Clinics should be established at convenient locations: at major sports events, workplaces, universities, public transport stations, housing commission estates, regional town centres, religious centres, and schools. They could run mobile and home-visit vaccination programs to target under-vaccinated areas or to reach groups who might find it hard to make time to get vaccinated, like single parents.

AdvertisementState governments should be also prepared to adopt the stronger incentives they have in their arsenal – requiring domestic “vaccine passports” for entry to major events, major public venues, and hospitality and entertainment settings, measures which are justified when the alternative is restrictions on the whole population. Nearly three quarters of Australians support this idea. Several countries have already implemented vaccine passports, and the federal government has developed digital certificates to allow it to happen here.

Lindfield GP Dr Chris Lee with a syringe of the AstraZeneca vaccine. GPs are being underutilised in the rollout.Credit:Edwina PicklesLoadingEvery dose makes it easier for us to “live with COVID-19” – by reducing the spread of the disease. Each vaccine shot also makes it less likely that severe restrictions would be needed to keep outbreaks in check while we race to 80. Vaccinating 50, or 60, or 70 per cent of a state’s population would make it much more plausible that future outbreaks could be crushed early with contact tracing alone.

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For now, Australia’s vaccine rollout remains hampered by a lack of supply, and by challenges in promoting take-up of AstraZeneca. But we should be planning now to accelerate the rollout as soon as we can. That means putting state governments at the forefront of the vaccine rollout by giving them more vaccines and more leeway to get them in arms. The states have led the way in managing COVID. Now they need to lead again on the way out.

Brendan Coates is Economic Policy Program Director and Tom Crowley is an Associate at Grattan Institute. Read more: The Sydney Morning Herald »

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Seriously wishful thinking. Even at 80% Australia will not open to the world under this plan. For a nation of immigrants this is truly pathetic. Better just to name the date of Australia’s Freedom Day and let people make their decisions accordingly. 31/12/21 would be a good day to draw a line under the pandemic and move on. auspoI COVID19Aus

Stop stigmatising those of a free will Yeah nah Sorry your LNP mate said it wasn’t a race. If the over 60s were also allowed to immediately get Pfizer the rate of vaccinated people would rise. The fact is the info re AZ has been confusing for many and the elderly need a vaccine offering best protection faster that AZ does after the 2 doses.

80% is impossible or 80% of over 18 yo maybe Opinion: For a virus that kills people of an average age of 84! Younger if you've had the non liable, no oversight, toxic vaccine that doesn't prevent infection nor transmission. And again. Australia = hysteria. 80% Why can everyone else do it with 50%? Why do we have the lowest speed limits Why can’t we buy wine in supermarkets Why do we have the highest fines for parking offences What’s wrong with us

80%? do y'all think we'll ever get to that number? lmao

Australia will need to vaccinate 80% of population before it can move away from lockdowns: GrattanAustralia will need to vaccinate 80 per cent of the total population before it can move away from harsh restrictions and lockdowns, new modelling shows | rachelclun rachelclun 80% of total population is roughly 100% of the population over 16. Very hard to imagine we are going to get to that level - there aren't many countries of scale that have managed this level of vaccination rachelclun Otherwise vaccine bigpharmas will not pay ScottMorrisonMP , their chief sales rep in the Downunder. rachelclun Why do the rest of us have to wait until we hit 80%? Give people w few months then let us vaccinated people free .

Not so sure 80% is enough. With an R0 of 6 it would suggest an adjusted R0 of 1 in a population that is 5/6 vaccinated, ie 83% (just do the math) and that's assuming 100% efficacy. And it also needs to be higher than that to stop the spread. I would guess it's more like 90%. Dr. Robert Malone is the inventor of mRNA Vaccine technology. great watch its short.

By the time we reach 80% the first people who were vaccinated will need booster shots. Get vaccinated. It helps boost the Immune system. You know, the jab that NOBODY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR if you get sick? Yeah, if you could all go out and get it, that would be GRREEAÀT. Cool story bro needs more dragons Oh wait you're being serious. 80%? No chance 🤣🤣

We can open as long as vaccine is readily available to everyone. The 80% target is silly. Err 20 percent of population are too young to get vaccine smh What a fail 60 percent is maximum So you're saying we never open Life thrives by exertion, wanes without, or prolonged by pharmacy.

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Will take at least 4 years. I am not getting any younger So never achievable then. Gives the perfect excuse for the racist hicks MarkMcGowanMP and AnnastaciaMP to demand the borders are closed forever. Hey AnnastaciaMP how do you think the garbage QLD economy will go with no tourism and the world turning against coal? 🤪

But 100% vaccination of athletes & officials has resulted in positive cases & a lockdown to control/prevent outbreak. The vaccine is the ticket to freedom yet athletes are in lockdown. Put your cryto to work and earn on your coins with weekly payout start using hashrate to mine 10 btc with promo code no original fee. 50+ collateral options DM or WhatsApp +1(678)960-9443 to know how

Stop pushing government propaganda Why 80%? Europe is nowhere near 80% and they are managing just fine! How about 80% of the vulnerable and the boomers who don’t want the vaccine too bad. The over 70 have had their chance. OpenBorders fortressaustralia nannystate How many months is that expected to take?

Good luck The US Centre for Disease Control just released a recommendation that fully vaccinated people keep wearing masks. Keep social distancing. So even if 80% in Oz had the jab, y'all be still wearing masks and be scared to shake hands & hug friends for a long time to come. paranoia By the time 80% get vaccinated it’ll be time for the booster…..try getting 80% to inject that stuff every year. So I very much doubt we’ll get back to normal.

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WHY NOT REPORT THE CONTENT OF THE EXPERIMENTAL JABS? Why only focused on pushing the jabs relentlessly? Why not report what's in the experimental jabs? Instead of the relentless pushing the jabs. Being last with our rollout should at least allow us to learn from other countries and plan in advance.Crystal ball time-we’ll get to 60% by Xmas, then it will slow down,then we’ll be talking about incentives,then mandatory vaccinations. How about bringing all that in now,though?

Will never happen. 65% at best. It’s not working in the Uk or have you not noticed? The fact that no country in the world has so far got close to 80 per cent is neither here or there. Let’s just get as many people vaccinated as we can, explain to those who don’t what the risks are and go from there. These arbitrary figures will just cause future confusion.

Anti-vax comments being made on Twitter suggest that this will be very difficult to achieve. 1/ The 80% figure is such old news 2/ Bullshit Each disease has its herd immunity threshold. A layperson and Thanos-ism believer as I am, I think 50+% suffice. The rest unvaccinated would naturally build their immunity over time. Just don’t take my word for it.

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If the idea of vaccinating kids under 12 if to protect the unvaccinated elderly, rather than providing any net benefit to the children being vaccinated, then vaccines for under 12s should not and will not be approved. We will never go back to ‘normal’ w/e that is. This is the biggest wake up call the world has ever had. Business ‘as normal’ is no longer the path we should be on, it has led us to this state of disaster, it’s time to change, but we need leaders, good ones are in short supply

If Scott Morrison wasn't PM this would have happened 6 months ago. It won’t get to 80% but they will have concede and open up regardless as the public will vote accordingly I say open up at 60% 'will' not 'can'. 99% can 80% hahaha It took australia 19 months to reach 12% and they are talking about being normal after 80% that too fully vaccinated I guess they should clearly say that we are closed for next 50 years God bless LNP and ScottMorrisonMP for being so optymystic resignscottmorrison

It won’t happen. Let’s be realistic

All the new rules as Sydney’s lockdown extendedSydneysiders will be locked down for another four weeks as Covid cases continue to soar. These are all the rules residents need to know. You can’t allow movement in a delta outbreak because it doesn’t care if your a tradie or not and allowing people to move ten kms is bizarre. This will not stop until we stop moving and lockdown everyone😎 So if you are a tradie you can work in your local issues as our weak premier GladysB can’t upset her best mates

New COVID-case in Victoria as mystery infection linkedVictoria has recorded an additional COVID-19 case this evening which will be included in tomorrow's numbers. The Department of Health confirmed the infection late today. 9News Onya contact tracers! Good job!