Brisbane and surrounding Australian cities will enter a lockdown late Tuesday after recording two new COVID-19 infections, the Associated Press reported. The Queensland state capital joins Sydney and Perth, which are already in lockdown.
Sydney documented 19 new infections on Australia’s east coast, while Perth reported two new cases on the west coast. Northern Australia’s Darwin also recently reported two new infections.
Despite Australia’s success in limiting the COVID-19 impact, with less than 31,000 cases and 910 total deaths, a slow vaccination campaign and vaccine hesitancy have left the nation’s population susceptible to the virus. Just 5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, and Australia has made the AstraZeneca vaccine available to all adults despite reports of blood clots caused by the shot, the Associated Press reported.
The Pfizer vaccine was recommended for people younger than 60 after a 52-year old woman died from blood clots in the brain from the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the demand for Pfizer outweighs the supply.
“It’s a discussion for doctors to have with their own patients and work through their own risk and benefit in relation to that,” Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said Tuesday.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Some epidemiologists argue the government should speed up the rollout by reducing the gap between AstraZeneca jabs from 12 to eight weeks. But some Australians are now refusing to take a second shot because of the evolving perception of the blood clotting risk.
The New South Wales state government is highlighting vaccines’ apparent successes in the current Sydney cluster.
Twenty-four people who attended a birthday party on June 19 became infected with the Delta variant. None had been vaccinated. But six fully vaccinated health workers and an aged care worker who had received the first of two doses attended the house party and were not infected.
“The early and strong indications from that party … are, if you’re vaccinated, you are much more likely to not be infected with COVID-19,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Monday.
State Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said he was the only one among four government colleagues who dined together at a Sydney pizza restaurant on June 21 to become infected. An infected person had been at the restaurant earlier.
Marshall revealed he was the only one among the four who had not had a dose of vaccine because, at age 36, he was not eligible.
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