CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is about to hit a milestone with half of the adult population fully inoculated.
According to data released by the Department of Health, 74.1 percent of Australians aged 16 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 49.3 percent are fully vaccinated.
“We’re now round about 75 percent first dose and 50 percent second dose,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference from Washington at local time Thursday afternoon.
“It’s going to make a big difference as we continue to surge towards those necessary targets of 70 and 80 percent, that will open Australia up.”
On Friday morning, Australia reported more than 1,700 new locally-acquired COVID-19 infections as the country continues to battle the third wave of infections.
New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, reported 1,043 new cases and 11 deaths.
There have been 277 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since June 16 this year, according to the statement from NSW Health.
Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 733 new local cases and one death.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded 19 new cases, taking the number of active cases in the nation’s capital to 217.
The ACT is on track to become the first jurisdiction in Australia to have 60 percent of its over-16s fully vaccinated in the coming days, according to official figures.
The ACT government is expected to reveal its plan to ease Canberra’s strict lockdown for businesses, schools and outdoor social gatherings late next week.