Epidemiologist Greg Dore says fully vaccinated Australians

Fully vaccinated Australians should get immediate benefits to encourage more people to get the shot, an infectious disease expert said in response to Australia’s new four-stage Covid-19 response.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the plan Friday afternoon after a national cabinet meeting with state prime ministers, revealing the vaccination levels needed for each step.

For Australia to move from the current phase to phase B, 70 percent of the eligible population must be fully vaccinated – a target the government aims to achieve by December – followed by an 80 percent threshold for phase C.

Under Phase B, lockdowns would be possible but less likely, while Phase C only allows for highly targeted shutdowns.

The transition plan received mixed reactions from Australians, with some predicting that vaccination rates would rise as a result and others objecting to Mr Morrison’s plan to introduce digital vaccination certificates.

The prime minister said certificates for Apple and Android devices are still a few days away and would be used as part of border control.

Bans on travel abroad have been in effect since March 2020 and are likely to continue into 2022 when Australia moves to Phase C.

In the third phase, all restrictions on vaccinated travelers will be lifted, and no limits on vaccinated arrivals.

Professor Greg Dore, an infectious disease physician at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and epidemiologist at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, said fully vaccinated Australians should now be able to travel abroad and be quarantined at home when they return.

Scroll down for video

Australians who have been fully vaccinated should now be able to travel abroad for a holiday (pictured is a traveler at Sydney airport) rather than waiting until 2022, infectious disease experts say.  A ban on travel abroad has been in effect since March 2020 and is likely to remain in effect until mid-next year, despite a new four-stage plan for a return to normal

Australians who have been fully vaccinated should now be able to travel abroad for a holiday (pictured is a traveler at Sydney airport) rather than waiting until 2022, infectious disease experts say. A ban on travel abroad has been in effect since March 2020 and is likely to remain in effect until mid-next year, despite a new four-stage plan for a return to normal

“You could now exempt fully vaccinated individuals,” Professor Dore told ABC Radio National broadcaster Patricia Karvelas Friday afternoon.

‘I have no problem with them going abroad now.

“I don’t see the great risk they pose to the community.

‘They can go back to home quarantine, they are fully vaccinated.

“We have estimated that the number of positive cases who return among fully vaccinated people is in the order of six to 12 per 10,000 returnees.”

With less than one in five Australians fully vaccinated, Professor Dore said lifting a ban on travel abroad would encourage more people to get vaccinated as more Pfizer doses come in.

“It encourages vaccination,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that 80 percent of people over 16 must be fully vaccinated against Covid before Australians are allowed to travel abroad again for holidays

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that 80 percent of people over 16 must be fully vaccinated against Covid before Australians are allowed to travel abroad again for holidays

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that 80 percent of people over 16 must be fully vaccinated against Covid before Australians are allowed to travel abroad again for holidays

As of July 29, only 18.24 percent of Australians aged 16 and over had been fully vaccinated after receiving two injections of AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

Poll

Do you agree that Australians who have been fully vaccinated against Covid are now allowed to travel abroad and quarantine when they return?

  • Yes 1 votes
  • new 0 votes
  • Uncertain 0 votes

But with a million doses now being delivered per week, Professor Dore said a 70 percent vaccination rate by the end of 2021 was achievable, with the 80 percent target to be achieved by early next year.

“The vaccine restraint has fallen off a cliff. There is a sense of urgency,” he said.

Businessman and politician Clive Palmer led criticism of Mr Morrison’s plan to lift only some restrictions on fully vaccinated people, and vowed to challenge the proposal in court.

“I will challenge a Supreme Court against any vaccine passport Scott Morrison introduces. It’s unconstitutional,” Palmer said.

But others endorsed the idea, with a backing from the prime minister saying: ‘Give those who are fully vaccinated total freedom and watch vaccination rates rise.’

Breakfast channel ABC 702 Sydney Wendy Harmer sarcastically endorsed the four-phase plan.

“Yeah, touching those points,” she tweeted, summarizing the Health Department’s vaccination records from ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland.

In another scathing tweet, she said: “Uh, Prime Minister hopes phase B will be reached by the end of the year, but ‘we’re not going to put any timetables on it’. That’s EXACTLY how you win Olympic Gold!’

Mr Morrison also confirmed that Australia was working on digital vaccination certificates just days away that could be added to Apple or Google wallets.

This would allow Australia to recognize the vaccine status of travelers entering the country and ensure they have Australian-approved shots.

‘There will already be digital vaccination certificates for many countries. Indeed, for Australia they will be in place,” he said.

Professor Greg Dore, an infectious disease physician at St Vincent's Hospital Sydney in Sydney and epidemiologist at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, said fully vaccinated Australians should now be allowed to travel abroad and quarantine at home. go when they return (pictured are Australian Defense Force personnel at a Sydney hotel where returning travelers are quarantined)

Professor Greg Dore, an infectious disease physician at St Vincent's Hospital Sydney in Sydney and epidemiologist at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, said fully vaccinated Australians should now be allowed to travel abroad and quarantine at home. go when they return (pictured are Australian Defense Force personnel at a Sydney hotel where returning travelers are quarantined)

Professor Greg Dore, an infectious disease physician at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney in Sydney and epidemiologist at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, said fully vaccinated Australians should now be allowed to travel abroad and quarantine at home. go when they return (pictured are Australian Defense Force personnel at a Sydney hotel where returning travelers are quarantined)

‘If you get vaccinated, there are special rules for you. Why? Because if you are vaccinated, you are less at risk to public health,” he said.

With only 40 percent of Australians fully vaccinated, Professor Greg Dore said lifting a ban on travel abroad would encourage more people to get vaccinated as more Pfizer doses come in.

With only 40 percent of Australians fully vaccinated, Professor Greg Dore said lifting a ban on travel abroad would encourage more people to get vaccinated as more Pfizer doses come in.

With only 40 percent of Australians fully vaccinated, Professor Greg Dore said lifting a ban on travel abroad would encourage more people to get vaccinated as more Pfizer doses come in.

France on Monday introduced laws requiring vaccine certificates or a negative Covid test result for anyone entering a public, indoor environment from early August.

Similar rules came into effect in Greece on July 16, prohibiting anyone from being served in indoor restaurants, bars and cafes unless they can prove they had been vaccinated.

A large number of European countries, including Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, Austria, Italy and Spain, require, or at least intend to have, a vaccination certificate in order to serve customers.

ABC 702 Sydney breakfast station Wendy Harmer sarcastically endorsed the four-phase plan

ABC 702 Sydney breakfast station Wendy Harmer sarcastically endorsed the four-phase plan

ABC 702 Sydney breakfast station Wendy Harmer sarcastically endorsed the four-phase plan

In another scathing tweet, she said: “Uh, Prime Minister hopes phase B will be reached by the end of the year, but ‘we’re not going to put any timetables on it’. That’s EXACTLY how you win Olympic Gold!’

The New South Wales government has extended Sydney’s lockdown until at least August 28, with the state registering 170 new cases on Friday, despite even stricter restrictions on leaving home in eight council areas to the west and southwest of the city.

The Westpac Bank forecasts a 7.8 percent contraction in the NSW economy in the September quarter.

To put that in perspective, that would be more serious than the 7 percent drop in Australia’s gross domestic product in the June quarter of 2020, following the national Covid shutdowns.

What are the four stages of opening?

A. Vaccinating, preparing and testing (from 14 July)

Arrival caps halved to 3,035 per week; early, severe and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available in apps like Apple Wallet

B. Post-vaccination phase (when 70 percent will be stung, expected by the end of this year)

Lockdowns less likely but possible’; vaccinated people face reduced disabilities; limits for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger limit for vaccinated arrivals with ‘reduced quarantine requirements’; limited entry for students and economic visa holders

C. Consolidation Phase (when 80 percent is pricked, time not announced)

Removal of all outbound travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers; no limits for vaccinated arrivals; increased limits for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles arise with countries like Singapore; booster shots rolled out

D. Final phase (percentage or time not disclosed)

Unlimited arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and unlimited arrivals for unvaccinated people with pre-departure and on-arrival testing

.