State leaders are ramping up the call to get vaccinated as they look at ending restrictions earlier than expected.
The ACT will come out of lockdown at the stroke of midnight tonight after smashing its vaccination targets.
“The current evidence suggests that the ACT will be one of the most vaccinated cities in the world,” said Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
“We expect to be at around 99% of the eligible population fully vaccinated by the end of November. It’s a testament to ACT residents and their willingness to protect themselves, their family and their community.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has hinted that the end of what is now the world’s longest lockdown may come sooner than thought despite rising infection rates.
Victoria has recorded 2297 infections overnight, but Andrews said the faster than expected vaccination rollout could see restrictions begin to lift a few days earlier.
Victoria was originally forecast to see 70 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated on October 26, but is now expected to reach that threshold on October 22.
Andrews said restrictions would be eased the same day the vaccination target is reached.
“I look forward to being able to give people absolute clarity about what next week looks like, and the week after, and as far out as we can,” he said.
“So, we have, fundamentally, a very important agreement with the Victorian community – you get vaccinated and we will open up, and I do what I say.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has also suggested residents could see even more freedoms when the state reaches its 80 per cent target. Currently, forecasts indicate the state could hit that target a week earlier than the projected, on October 18.
But one area of concern is regional NSW, which has been slower in its vaccination rollout.
“It looks like from the efforts of everyone in the state that we’ll meet our 80 per cent target over the weekend … but there have been concerns about the different pace of the vaccine rollout in regional NSW,” Perrottet said.
“I will look at that today with members of the cabinet team when we also look at a range of issues in relation to our Covid response.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also ramped up messaging that it may open its borders up by Christmas calling on Queenslanders not to delay getting vaccinated.
“We cannot protect you if you won’t protect yourself,” she wrote on Twitter.
Palaszczuk pointed out it takes five weeks from the first dose to be completely vaccinated, so everyone needs to get their first jab by November 17 to hit the Christmas target.
“We are counting on Queenslanders to keep staying safe – let’s get it done,” she said.