House debates

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Vaccination

2:29 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health and Aged Care) Share this | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Lindsay, and also thank her community for coming forward to be vaccinated in record numbers—approximately 95 per cent of the Penrith community has come forward to be vaccinated. That's protecting them and it's protecting them in a world where, again, we have seen over 500,000 cases in the last 24 hours and over 8½ thousand lives lost worldwide. The pandemic continues, but in Australia we are seeing ever-increasing vaccination numbers. We are now at the point where we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, we have one of the most recently vaccinated populations and we are about to commence one of the world's first whole-of-population booster programs.

On vaccinations, we have now passed 35 million vaccinations in Australia—87.6 per cent of the population 16 years and over has had at least a first dose. We have passed three-quarters, 75½ per cent, of the population 16 years and over being fully vaccinated with a second dose. Then, looking across different demographics and communities, over 94.8 per cent of people aged 50 and above have been vaccinated and an extraordinary 98.8 per cent of Australians aged 70 and above have been vaccinated. This is surely one of the highest rates in the world for the elderly in the community to be vaccinated. That protection is absolutely fundamental in saving lives and protecting lives.

As we go forward, yesterday the TGA approved the Pfizer vaccine as a booster. Today we've had advice from ATAGI confirming and recommending that we begin the whole-of-population booster program. The first shots were administered shortly before question time by TLC at their Geelong residential aged-care facility. They are already commencing the booster program for older Australians. We're also making available as of 8 November the whole-of-population booster program, but those GPs, those states or those facilities that are in a position to begin beforehand have the capacity to do that immediately, as we have seen today with the booster program commencing.

All of these things have come together to protect Australians. We have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, we have one of the most recently vaccinated populations and now we are one of the first nations in the world, after Israel, to have a whole-of-country vaccination booster program.


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