Page 70 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

booster eligibility was extended to include 16- and 17-year-olds. There are around 9,000 Canberrans in this age group, with around 8,300 of them immediately eligible on the basis of their second-dose timing. I encourage them to come forward to receive their boosters.

I am pleased to advise that the ACT continues to achieve nation-leading booster vaccination rates, with 54.7 per cent of all residents aged 16 years or older having received their third dose or booster vaccine. These are yesterday’s numbers, so they will be even higher today! This compares with a nation population coverage of just over 40 per cent. Together ACT mass vaccination clinics, GPs and pharmacies have administered more than 190,000 third and booster vaccine doses.

To ensure we have the capacity to provide boosters as quickly as possible and continue to be the most protected jurisdiction in Australia, the government reopened the airport clinic on 24 January. In its first week of operation, the airport site prioritised booster appointments for Canberra’s critical and high-risk frontline workers. This included school and early childhood education staff as well as healthcare, disability, aged care and community sector workers.

While initial demand for boosters was strong, across the nation we are seeking a decline in demand, with fewer people making appointments. As of 3 February, almost 155,000 Canberrans aged 16 or over who are eligible to receive their boosters have not yet come forward. I strongly encourage anyone who has not received their booster to make a vaccination appointment as soon as possible. This booster effort will assist the community to remain as protected as possible against the omicron variant. The ACT COVID-19 website has resources in multiple languages. (Time expired.)

MS ORR: I have a supplementary question. Given that the ACT has led the nation in the rollout of vaccines by ensuring that everyone was able to access their first and second doses, can you update the Assembly on how every Canberran is now being provided the opportunity to receive a booster.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for the supplementary question. The ACT continues to have leading COVID-19 vaccination rates, with about 98.5 per cent of Canberrans aged 12 and over having received two doses. We have achieved these remarkable rates by ensuring that every member of our community has access to vaccination in spaces that are appropriate for them. Through the Equity to Access program, COVID-19 vaccines are provided to members of the community who experience barriers when accessing mainstream health services. This includes people with disability and people in insecure and temporary accommodation, as well as other people for whom a range of factors exist that can make attending a mass vaccination clinic or a GP more difficult. ACT Health delivers this program in collaboration with many non-government partners to offer dedicated booster clinics in community-based settings. These organisations, which are trusted touch points in the community, are integral to the ongoing success of the Equity to Access program, and I want to thank those organisations for their commitment to protecting our community’s most vulnerable members.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video