Policy report

90 days to freedom? Why Australia can learn from Canada’s vaccination success

COVID-19 Immunisation Pandemics Disease management Infectious diseases Canada Australia

Predictions have been made by the Doherty Institute and others that Australia will achieve full vaccination of 70% of the eligible population by the end of October and 80% by mid-November, thereby meeting the thresholds for liberalisation of restrictions set by national cabinet.

Doubts that have been expressed about these predicted vaccination levels are unwarranted. Basic modelling and comparisons with other countries — particularly Canada — show that such projections are very plausible considering the recent strong acceleration in doses administered and the expected dramatic increase in vaccine supply during September and the remainder of 2021.

While there are risks to both demand and supply, these risks should not form part of the base case. The federal and state governments should be doing everything to manage the risks. With a more concerted effort, the dates projected by Doherty could be bettered. The costs of restrictions are such that every day counts.

The biggest risk to the outlook is not the failure to reach thresholds for full vaccination but that governments will be excessively cautious in easing restrictions once the thresholds are reached.

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CIS Policy Paper 43