Victoria’s road to being lockdown free is uncertain as the state Labor government confirmed vaccination numbers would not determine whether lockdowns will be used to control future outbreaks of the CCP virus.
“There isn’t one single magic number,” Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng told reporters on June 6.
“Once you get up to much higher coverage rates, then it makes a whole lot of things easier.”
He added that while Victoria may not need the “intensity” of restrictions if vaccination uptake increases, the state “may be able to only do contact tracing without having to do other things quite to the same level,” which he says is the “benefit of vaccination.”
This comes as the federal government announced on June 6 that it would send an extra 330,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Victoria—115,000 AstraZeneca vaccines for each of the next two weeks and 100,000 Pfizer doses for three weeks after June 14.
“That is a recognition of the very strong work being done here in Victoria and the strong demand,” federal health minister Greg Hunt said on June 6.
“We want to see other states and territories have that same degree of public support and confidence. It is going well around the country, but always we push for more.”
Just over 650,000 vaccination doses have been administered in Victoria, with only two to three percent of Victorians being fully vaccinated as Melbourne emerges from its second weekend of lockdown.
Nationally, 5,016,000 vaccinations have taken place.
“The vaccine program is accelerating, Australians are stepping forward, and as supply becomes available, the public is stepping up and doing their part of the job,” Hunt said.
Hunt’s comments came as Victoria confirmed two additional cases were reported in an aged care facility in the Melbourne suburb of Maidstone.
The cases included a 79-year-old resident living in the centre and an agency registered nurse.
Just over 350 public exposure sites have been listed in Victoria.
Meanwhile, the federal government and Victorian state government have agreed to have a new purpose-built quarantine facility built in Victoria. But federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese said more facilities needed to be built in other states.
“This needs to be fixed now, not wait until after the next federal election, which will occur perhaps as late as May of next year,” he told Sky News. “We can’t afford to keep having these lockdowns.”
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng added while lifting the lockdown was a “day by day proposition,” easing restrictions on June 10 was “our expectation.”
“We don’t want to be in this any longer than we need to. So if we can, we will lift it early,” Cheng said.
AAP contributed to this report.