High vaccination rate paves way for positive recovery

The surge in vaccination rates in NSW and Victoria in recent weeks has paved the way for a genuine recovery in the broader Australian community and offers the brightest signs yet for a strong rebound in economic activity.

Tourism, both local and international, is about to restart with the Perrottet government on Sunday launching a lively marketing campaign to draw visitors back. It encourages visitors to come to NSW, “a place to feel free, to feel alive and most of all to feel new again”.

All this, though, has become possible only through the push to drive vaccination rates as high as possible. While several states have much catching up to do, more than 86 per cent of Australians aged over 16 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine nationwide and close to 73 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

In NSW, the rate is higher still: 93 per cent have had their first dose and almost 85 per cent are fully vaccinated. In Victoria, where access to vaccinations was problematic earlier this year, more than nine in 10 people over 16 have had their first dose and the Andrews government expects the state will reach the 80 per cent double-dose threshold by Friday.

These are significant achievements, and there is every reason to celebrate.

Families and friends who have endured separation due to travel restrictions, young people who had to postpone what should be some of their best social years, and businesses that have been in a kind of hibernation – all can now begin to reopen to the world.

And as the dynamic economies of NSW and Victoria kick-start again, there is great optimism for a vibrant summer ahead – for tourism and hospitality, for retailing and small businesses, for everyone to just get out and about.

Witness Saturday night’s football international between the Matildas and Brazil – attended by more than 15,000 people at Parramatta – not so long ago a local government area of concern. On Sunday, that very same LGA reported no new cases of COVID-19.

For Melburnians, who have endured six lockdowns over the past 19 months, the chance to breathe in the bush air or visit coastal communities is just days away. To think, Victorians just a few weeks ago even had playgrounds closed. Now there is the prospect of shops re-opening, nightclubs and music festivals hosting up to 5000 people, and more.

The Andrews government even anticipates a crowd of about 80,000 (or 80 per cent capacity) at the MCG on Boxing Day for the first day of the Third Test against England as Australia defends the Ashes.

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