ACT COVID-19 booster vaccine intake falls behind expectations | Canberra Times

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The inclusion of booster shots in the ACT falls behind the government’s forecasts, leaving more people at risk of serious outbursts or death in what has been hailed as the world’s most vaccinated city. Less than half of the eligible population in the territory has received their third dose, prompting a plea from acting ACT Health Minister Chris Steel on what was Australia’s deadliest day during the pandemic. “This is still lower than what we had anticipated and we want to see a lot more people come forward to take their booster shots, it’s the best protection they have against serious illness,” Mr Steel said. There were 98 deaths reported across the country on Friday. This included a Canberra man in the 80s. There were 734 new COVID-19 cases reported in ACT. 66 people were in Canberra hospitals with COVID-19. Five were on intensive care and one was being ventilated. Nearly 99 percent of Canberrans aged 12 and over have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the country’s capital often considered one of the most vaccinated cities in the world. Sir. Steel did not say exactly how far behind the ACT was after the forecasts, only that it was not near the level of people coming forward for their first and second shots. “Initially, we expected that we would have the same very high levels of vaccination with the booster syringe that we had with the first two doses,” he said. “But what has become clear not only here in the ACT, but also around Australia, is that there seem to be fewer people signing up.” Despite the ACT’s overwhelming booster intake, the territory is a leader in the country, with nearly 45 percent of the eligible population receiving their third dose. The ACT government has previously been warned of a potential delay in people receiving their booster shots. Research commissioned by the government last year showed that a sense of complacency could result in lower booster consumption. It found that targeted campaigns may be needed to increase this rate. Sir. Steel confirmed that the government would increase its booster campaign to encourage more people to step forward. “We continue to increase the campaign and we talked about it nationally and how we can work nationally to ensure that there are really strong messages to encourage people to take their booster shots,” Mr Steel said. MORE COVID-19 NEWS: Schools began receiving rapid antigen tests Thursday, and Mr Steel said more than 50,000 had already been delivered. However, the vaccination rate for the first day back in school was set to be lower than expected. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Andrew Barr had predicted that nearly 90 percent of five- to 11-year-olds would have received their first COVID-19 vaccine. But only 63.3 percent had received their dose as of Friday. “It seems we are not reaching the 90 percent target until the school returns,” Mr Steel said. “And that’s why we really encourage all parents to make sure their child from the age group of five to 11 comes in to get their first dose.” Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, sign up here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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