Australia Federal Health not asking for vaccination status of returning Australians
The lingering threat of fall Covid-19 outbreaks
The vaccines are holding Covid-19 down for now, but it could come back this fall.But what comes after the summer?
Federal health authorities are not keeping any records of how many Australians returning from overseas have been vaccinated and whether they develop COVID-19, despite the government saying it wants to shift to a home quarantine for the fully jabbed at some point.
Some states, included NSW, have begun collating the data on their own accord, despite having not being directed from their federal counterparts.
Britain and the United States began vaccinating their populations last year and have fully vaccinated half of those living in their countries, including thousands of Australians, since then.
What’s the Point of a Post-Vaccination Coronavirus Test?
Even mild breakthrough cases can help keep tabs on the virus’ next moves.These rare breakthroughs, as I’ve written before, are no cause for alarm. For starters, they’re fundamentally different from the infections we dealt with during the pre-mass-vaccination era. The people who experience them are getting less sick, for shorter periods of time; they are harboring less of the coronavirus, and spreading fewer particles to others. Breakthroughs are also expected, even unextraordinary. They will be with us for as long as the coronavirus is—and experts are now grappling with questions about when and how often these cases should be tracked.
The federal government has repeatedly said it wants to move to a system where some fully vaccinated Australians could serve out their quarantine at home, instead of having to pay $3000 to go through the hotel system. The move would free up capacity and gradually reopen entry borders for skilled migrants and other visas holders who've been denied access since March 2020 when the borders were slammed shut.
But Brendan Murphy, the secretary of the federal health department, said officials are not even keeping records of Australians who've been vaccinated going through hotel quarantine and whether or not they develop COVID-19.
"At the moment we are not collecting that information," Professor Murphy told Senate Estimates.
How to make a COVID vaccination booking in Melbourne and regional Victoria
Here's how to work out what vaccine you're eligible to receive, how to book an appointment, and where to go for a walk-in vaccination. What vaccine am I eligible for?If you are between the ages of 40 and 49 you are eligible to receive the Pfizer shot at state-run vaccination sites, but you must book in advance.Please note that Pfizer is not available at all vaccination sites. Details on how to book your vaccination appointment are below.Those above the age of 50 can get an AstraZeneca jab, either by appointment or walk-in.Walk-in vaccination site locations are listed below.
"Some of the states and territories are asking people as they coming into hotel quarantine whether they've been vaccinated.
"We're developing a plan, we have to work out which certificates of other countries we'll trust. We will be working through which vaccinations overseas we will be able to recognise at some stage, we'll have to get the TGA ... there's some vaccines we wouldn't recognise as vaccines."
The opposition's spokeswoman for Home Affairs Kristina Keneally said the ongoing complacency was not good enough.
"The Morrison government is managing Australia's international borders with a blindfold," Senator Keneally told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
"The Department of Home Affairs has no idea how many people entering Australia are vaccinated or with which vaccine.
"Mr Morrison's complacency on the vaccine rollout is matched by his lack of interest to manage our borders and develop a system to track which returning Aussies have been vaccinated or not.
A guide on how to get your vaccine in Victoria
A short guide on how to work out what vaccine you're eligible to receive, how to book an appointment, and where to go for a walk-in vaccination. How do I book in for a vaccine? The state government set up a dedicated vaccination hotline on Friday morning after the coronavirus hotline crashed for several hours on Thursday amid overwhelming demand following its decision to offer vaccinations to those aged over 40. The best way to to book in for your Pfizer or AstraZeneca shot is to call the Victorian government's new COVID vaccination hotline on 1800 571 121.
"This just isn't good enough. This is basic information that the federal government should be collecting. Just like the disastrous vaccination rollout in aged care the Morrison government has no idea about which returning Aussies are vaccinated or not."
Professor Greg Dore, an infectious diseases expert at UNSW's Kirby Institute, said while the data would be helpful to have it was not essential because it was already possible to reduce the quarantine requirements on the fully vaccinated while still protecting the community.
"We need a more nuanced quarantine strategy," he said.
"The data would be incredibly helpful but even without the data, someone coming from a relatively low-risk country who has a negative test prior to departure and is fully vaccinated - the risk of them having a breakthrough infection is exceedingly low.
"It's not absolutely zero but it's as close to zero as you could get."
Professor Dore said that people in these categories could be placed in home quarantine and released subject to testing, which would be "equivalent to three to four layers of protection," for the community.
COVID-19 Vaccine Maps Reveal Political Divide, Public Health Service Disparities
It is "very disappointing" but "not surprising" that many conservative states are lagging behind blue states in COVID-19 vaccinations, according to American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin.The Associated Press noted the slower rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in red states in mid-April. As of May 30, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed the five states with the lowest numbers of vaccine doses administered per 100,000 people were Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Wyoming and Arkansas—each of which former President Donald Trump won last November.
The Department of Health said through a spokesperson that it was "working with the Department of Home Affairs to seek the addition of questions to be captured on the Australian Traveller Declaration (ATD) regarding an international arrival's COVID-19 vaccination history."
NSW Health is one of the jurisdictions that has been collecting and reporting the data.
The state's records show that since March 1, just nine of the 379 returnees who tested positive for COVID-19 were reported among those who said they'd been fully vaccinated at least two weeks before arriving in Australia.
However, NSW Health said they may not have been fully vaccinated prior to being exposed to COVID-19.
When pressed on the vaccine rollout in the party room this week, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government was considering different regimes for people vaccinated, including the prospect of some quarantine-free travel.
The questions were put by Liberal MP Jason Falinkski who wants the international border safely reopened.
One trial could see Australians vaccinated by countries with comparable health systems serve out just a single night in hotel quarantine while their test is processed, and then freed if negative.
However, the task force evaluating possible travel options has only started modelling possible scenarios and is still awaiting more data before proceeding with the trial, possibly as soon as August or September.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will next week become the third member of Cabinet in as many months who will travel overseas and quarantine at home upon his return, all having been fully vaccinated.
Biden Just Sabotaged His Own Vaccine Plan .
Given the urgency to reach 70 percent vaccination in America by President Joe Biden’s July 4 deadline and the rapid decline in the number of new people getting shots, it is time to shift our strategy and move to plan B: bosses. Plan A—build it and they will come—worked great to reach those most concerned about getting infected and especially those over 65. Now, however, with the continued threat of variant strains and areas of low vaccination coverage in states like Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Arkansas, we have to move to a new plan centered on workplace vaccination requirements. And the White House needs to get in on the action, rather than ducking ugly fights.