Counting the cost of Australia’s delayed vaccine rollout: part two - international border closures

COVID-19 Immunisation Economic indicators Border security Australia

After the federal government failed to reach its target of four million vaccine doses administered by the end of March 2021, the McKell Institute published Counting the cost of Australia’s delayed vaccination rollout.

That report projected the likelihood of capital city lockdowns that could be attributed to the delay in Australia’s vaccination program under various scenarios. It then estimated the cost of these lockdowns by producing a risk-adjusted net present value of the economic costs. It found conservatively that the economic cost of these lockdowns would be around $1.4 billion, even if Australia followed the world-class UK vaccination rate.

State-based capital city lockdowns are only one economic cost associated with the delay in the vaccination program. A second and larger cost is associated with any delay in international border reopening as a result of the delay in the vaccination program.

This report projects the likely delay in border reopening and the economic costs of this delay. It finds that Australia is on track to end international border closures 81 days later than originally planned and will incur an economic cost estimated at $16.4 billion from the delay.

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