COVID has trampled the world. My nation, Australia, is about to open up everything in the upcoming months. We’ve seen a surge in vaccination rate after an outbreak occurred in June/July – going from 11% vaccinated to 63% receiving their first dose by October 1. In the first affected state, NSW, this number is over 87% – and vaccine hesitancy is at an all time low of 8% too! A combination of messaging focusing on increasing vaccination, and restrictions promised to affect vaccinated people are to thank for this, I believe. But we’re only going for 80% vaccination. And states are starting to suggest that the unvaccinated people can enjoy these freedoms too, which may reduce vaccination enthusiasm. Here, I show real life examples from around the world which show why we need to go for 90% vaccinated to ensure Australians, including at risk people like myself, don’t suffer.
Around the world, there is reason to hope. Here are some examples of nations who have either controlled, or are starting to see huge regression of rates of COVID and hospitalisation.
The key is
They ALL have over 90% of their eligible population vaccinated.
They all test their populations and maintain excellent Contact Tracing, and have a population that abides by restrictions to people who test positive, or have symptoms.
The UK has had 82% of its population double vaccinated. Yet vaccination uptake has stagnated. Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation spreads there, similar to the US. Currently, they are 130-135 deaths per day. By comparison, that would be equivalent to Australia seeing 48 deaths per day, which is almost 5x higher than what we’re seeing on average here. It’s important to know that they have almost 15x more cases per day there. So a higher vaccination rate DOES work in reducing hospitalisations. But sadly, their hospitals are quite strained – with over double the ICU bed usage (adjusted for the UK’s larger population). They did also use a different vaccine – but one shown to have similar efficacy in reducing hospitalisation and severe death against the delta strain (in any case, we in Australia also used the AstraZeneca vaccine). This is why we need a HIGHER vaccination rate than 82%!
There is reason for alarm. And this is likely why cases, deaths, and hospital strain is not going down there. I have friends in healthcare there who are struggling to keep up. I hope this trend doesn’t continue.
Iceland has controlled the delta Virus, without lockdowns, or restrictions of any kind, at any point. They did this through mass testing and effective and comprehensive contact tracing. I discuss this in detail, and how we can use rapid antigen test screening to mitigate this. At the very least though, targeted, regular rapid antigen tests, in addition to regular PCR testing for symptomatic or exposed populations may reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks. And we NEED to emphasise this. I feel like in NSW, we’re losing focus of this as Lockdown fatigue affects us all. Find out more on Iceland’s contact tracing strategy too.
Iceland is a great example of how mass testing and contact tracing alone works! But with a vaccination rate of >95% likely responsible for reduction in transmission, a shining example of how high vaccination helps too.