ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr believes COVID-19 shots will be needed for the rest of people’s lives going on the history of previous pandemics.
Around 64 per cent of Canberrans have had one coronavirus jab and just over 40 per cent have had two, one of the best take-ups of the vaccination program in the country.
The national COVID-19 recovery plan targets 70 and 80 per cent vaccination rates for restrictions to start to ease.
But Barr believes it will require a continuous program of vaccination beyond hitting 70, 80 or even 95 per cent targets to be fully protected against the virus.
“All the evidence from the northern hemisphere suggests that the vaccines provide very effective protection but they do need to be boosted,” he told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.
“I think we can anticipate, if COVID follows the path of other infectious diseases, that it’s with us for the rest of our lives and we will need to have a booster shot every year.”
Barr’s warning came despite the territory posting better news on the infection front on Sunday with just 13 new cases recorded, all of them linked to previous cases.
The territory has now recorded 250 cases in the current outbreak, 20 of which have recovered. One person remains seriously ill in intensive care.
The territory’s lockdown is due to end on Thursday.
But Barr warned the ACT is still exposed to another wave of the virus.
“So whatever we do between now and when we get to the very, very high levels of vaccination that we need, we are going to have to be very careful and measured in our response,’ he said.
NSW, which surrounds the ACT, announced a record 1218 virus cases on Sunday and Barr warned that that number may keep on growing, possibly reaching 2000 cases a day.
“Our hope is that the NSW government’s more immediate and clear regional lockdowns have a much greater dampening effect on viral spread on the basis that they got into it earlier,” he said.