Episodes
Video Extras
ArticlesLinks
More
Back

Australia Hits 50% Vaccination Coverage

Half of Australia's population aged 16 and above has been vaccinated against coronavirus.

Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed the milestone had been reached seven months and two days after the rollout began.

"Many thanks to the record 347,796 Australians who came forward to be vaccinated yesterday," he tweeted on Friday.

While Australia's immunisation program has been slower than almost everywhere in the developed world, jab rates have gained momentum.

The nation edges closer to 70 and 80 per cent over-16 double-dose vaccination coverage, which is crucial to easing restrictions.

Almost 75 per cent have received a first shot.

Outbreaks in NSW and Victoria continue to rage with more than 1700 new cases in Australia's most populous states on Friday.

A man who attended Wednesday's anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne is being treated for coronavirus in hospital.

There were 1043 infections in NSW and 11 deaths, while Victoria reported 733 cases and another fatality.

The Queensland government is under fire for refusing to commit to a date when travel can resume to coronavirus-hit NSW and Victoria.

Despite 3145 people being on the waiting list to enter the state, there has been no commitment to reopen borders or allow people to go overseas.

NSW - where 56.6 per cent have been fully vaccinated - is on track to reach the nationally agreed targets ahead of COVID-free states like Queensland and Western Australia.

Victoria and South Australia are almost at 46 per cent, while Queensland and WA are both on 43.4 per cent.

The ACT - which like NSW and Victoria remains in lockdown - leads the nation with 58.7 per cent double-dose coverage, while Tasmania has reached 54.5 per cent.

The NT is on 49.3 per cent.

Infectious diseases pediatrician Robert Booy fears days of violent protests in Melbourne could become a super-spreader event.

"It's a worry," he told the Nine Network.

"It's not in control and it's a real lesson to everyone else not to criticise but to say this Delta can get out of control."

Professor Booy said there would be no "freedom day" when vaccine thresholds were reached with continued health measures including testing, contract tracing, masks and vaccine passports.

He expects the step from 70 to 80 per cent vaccination rates to take between seven and 10 days.

AAP with The Project