Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

news, deeds policy, COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccinations, Deloitte Access Economics

The ACT’s ‘amazing’ COVID-19 vaccination rates are tipped to boost its economic recovery as the territory emerges as one of the world’s most vaccinated jurisdictions. Canberra has overtaken Japan and the United Kingdom in measuring rates for the entire population receiving the first doses of vaccine, and is close to world leaders such as Singapore and Canada. A new Deloitte Access Economics report says ACT’s high vaccination rates are poised for a more robust economic recovery as the vaccine, masks and QR codes replace lockdowns as the main defense against COVID. Deloitte Access Economics economist and partner Chris Richardson said vaccination rates were the leading indicator of improvement and showed that ACT’s prospects were better than elsewhere. “Canberra is amazingly well vaccinated, one of the best vaccinated places on earth,” he said. “These vaccination rates provide any indication that the ACT can make the transition that NSW is embarking on, but it can make it better and safer.” About 81 percent of ACT’s total population has received a first dose – a rate similar to those in Denmark and Canada. The area’s rate for fully vaccinated residents is farther behind these nations and is closer to double the dose in Hong Kong and the United States. ACT health authorities registered 30 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours until 8pm on Saturday. Sixteen were linked to existing cases or outbreaks and the remaining 14 were investigated. Seven people were quarantined throughout their period of infection, and six spent time in the community and could pose a risk of transmission to others. As Canberra prepares to end its lockdown on Friday and NSW lifts its restrictions today, the Deloitte Access Economics report said the ACT’s public sector and higher incomes had helped buffer its economy. But the capital’s high vaccination rates would be its “trump card” so it could reopen more safely than other jurisdictions. Richardson said the recovery in 2020 had been fragile because it has been dependent on zero COVID cases. The next phase will also involve fragility for various reasons, including the risk of further outbreaks of the Delta variant. “Things can get away from you and you may have to rely on lockdowns. It’s just ACT that is better insured against ongoing lockdowns than anywhere else in Australia,” he said. Prior to the release of the territorial budget, ACT chief Andrew Barr said last week that another lockdown would be unlikely in Canberra due to its high vaccination rates. More than 95 percent of the ACT’s population aged 12 and over had received its first dose, while 69 percent were fully vaccinated as of Sunday. Epidemiologist at Deakin University, Catherine Bennett, said the first vaccination dose rates were a good indicator of full vaccination rates. ACT’s achieved “extraordinary” vaccination coverage, Professor Bennett said. “It’s going to be hard for other states to catch up. But how great to have the internal benchmark to try to emulate,” she said. Professor Bennett said the uptake of vaccines among 12-15 year olds had been rapid in Canberra. The ACT’s demographics, geography and rollout on state territory had all boosted vaccination rates, she said. Vaccine uptake tended to be faster among parents and their families. “It was here that a lot of people saw admission because people were worried about their children,” she said. “And it would also be related to the truly extraordinary acceleration of rollout that was only recently made available to 12- to 15-year-olds.” The ACT had used its COVID-free period before August to quickly vaccinate humans, Professor Bennett said. MORE COVID-19 NEWS: Its smaller geographic size and its relative lack of urban density also removed barriers to vaccine rollout. The Deloitte Access Economics report said rebound in jobs nationally would depend on vaccinations, but warned that recovery in lockdown-affected sectors would extend well into 2022. It said despite political debate about when different states and territories would lift their lockdowns, it would make little difference to the refund. Rising public spending on social services and AUKUS-related programs would help support the territory’s long-term prospects, the report said. Leading employment indicators already showed a significant hit on jobs in Canberra. The worst effects were in customer-facing industries, including retail, hospitality and arts and recreation. “That hit in the labor market comes when the territory was already facing a weakening,” the report said. “Employment gains through pandemic recovery have reversed over the last few months and the participation rate is lower.” Although border restrictions had damaged the city’s universities and student-backed businesses, reopening borders would bring international students back to the capital, the report said. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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