As more people begin to get vaccinated worldwide, more countries are debating opening their borders. This decision is tough because Covid-19 rates have spiked as the delta variant begins to spread much more quickly. Australia has concluded that there must be 80% of the population vaccinated to reopen borders and end lockdowns. This could happen by the end of the year.
With 80% of Australia’s population vaccinated and 95% of those who are most vulnerable to the virus, the country will be “safe” to live with the virus, and severe cases should be rare. If Australia were to open up too early with only 50%-70% of the population vaccinated, there would still be a significant risk of spreading the virus, severe cases would be on the rise, and once again, hospitals will be overrun and overwhelmed.
Luckily, reaching 80% vaccinated looks pretty likely to happen by the end of the year, with only 10% of the population being against the vaccine. Vaccine supplies will be arriving in Australia within the next couple of months, and the rollout of these vaccines is crucial. To get 80% vaccinated, the vaccine must be as accessible as possible. Meaning the vaccine will be available to everyone at mass vaccination hubs, their doctor’s office, local pharmacies; and perhaps even schools, workplaces, and pop-up clinics at public places and gatherings such as supermarkets and sporting events.
Once the vaccine supplies have arrived in Australia, experts feel it would benefit the government to aim the launch at specific populations such as those hesitant to take the vaccine and those who don’t think they need to, such as the younger generation. Experts also feel there should be incentives for people to get the vaccine, such as a lottery or other prizes. Vaccine passports, mandatory vaccines for those who work with vulnerable populations or in high-risk settings, and approving the vaccine for children under 12 can help Australia reach its goal of 80% vaccination.
After 80% of the population is vaccinated, likely, there will no longer be lockdowns, and no longer be any quarantine requirements. This could also open up the borders for the vaccinated population with fully vaccinated visitors. To get back to how it was before the virus, 80% vaccinated is the bare minimum and must be met.