Senate debates

Monday, 22 November 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Vaccination

2:16 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator Henderson, for your question. On both health and economic fronts, Australia has fared better than most countries in dealing with COVID-19. Australians have been rolling up to get vaccinated, and I join everyone in the chamber, I think, in thanking them for doing that—for protecting themselves, for protecting their loved ones and for protecting the country. More than 91 per cent of the eligible population over 16 are now protected against COVID-19 with a first dose. Of the 38 developed OECD countries, Australia has had the second-lowest number of COVID-19 cases per capita. The USA and the UK have had more than 40 times the number of COVID deaths compared to Australia. For example, over 12 per cent of people in the US and 11 per cent of people in the UK have had COVID. By contrast, 0.4 per cent of Australians have had COVID. We estimate that our vaccine program has saved more than 30,000 lives. While Australia has been doing it tough, our economy remains resilient. Australia was the first advanced economy to have more people in work than it did prior to COVID. Nearly 900,000 jobs have been created since May last year. After last year's recession, Australia's economy—the GDP—recovered to be larger than prior to the pandemic, ahead of any advanced major economy in the world. And now, thanks to our high vaccination rates, we can start to safely reopen our borders to the world and Aussies can get back to doing the things they love. (Time expired)


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