Professor Catherine Bennett of Deakin University has suggested that state governments may be able to control localised COVID-19 outbreaks without imposing lockdowns when at least 30% of Australians have been fully vaccinated.
However, Raina MacIntyre from the Sydney-based Kirby Institute says its research shows that this level of full vaccination would not be sufficient. She notes that research in the UK suggests that a vaccination rate of at least 90% may be necessary to control the Delta variant.
From The AFR:
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“If we can get vaccination rates rising faster now with supply increasing and demand too, then there is a chance we can get rates up over 30 per cent fully vaccinated soon and begin to see some slowing of the spread of the virus,” [Catherine Bennett] said in an email.
“That will support contact tracing and buy us a little more time to close down outbreaks without having to stay in lockdown permanently”…
[But] Raina MacIntyre, a medical doctor and head of the biosecurity program of the Kirby Institute in Sydney, said almost the entire population would need to be vaccinated to stop the delta variant spreading.
“Our research shows that 30 per cent would be nowhere near enough, especially not now with a variant like delta,” she said. “UK research suggests you need over 90 per cent of people vaccinated to control delta.”
The next chart shows vaccination rates across the globe:
As you can see, the UK has the highest full vaccination rate (53.2%), whereas Australia is well down the list (11.1%).
It all depends on what the policy goal is. If it is to limit the spread of COVID, then the UK’s vaccination rate is nowhere near high enough:
But if the goal is to suppress hospital admissions:
As well as suppress fatalities:
Then the UK’s vaccination rates are sufficient.
What is the point of trying to control infection numbers if, due to high vaccination rates, COVID is no longer deadly? We don’t do the same with colds and flus.
Surely the key metric needs to shift away from case numbers to actual hospitalisations and deaths?
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