explainer

What happens when we reach the 70 per cent vaccination rate? Exactly what we know.

On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that once 70 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Australia will transition to a new phase of reopening. 

Mr Morrison did not set a time frame for this new target, however he did say last week that all people who want a jab will have the chance to receive one by the end of the year, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Once the 70 per cent vaccination target is met, Australia will move to Phase B of the government's four-stage plan out of the pandemic. We are currently in Phase A - the suppression phase.

At the moment, 19 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated and at least 40 per cent have had their first dose.

So what exactly does it mean when we hit Phase B? Here's what we know.

What does Phase B look like?

The 70 per cent target will need to be reached by not just the entire nation, but also by each state or territory. Once the respective state or territory has achieved the 70 per cent target, they will then move into Phase B.

Under Phase B, Australia will strive to minimise serious illness, hospitalisations and fatalities as a result of COVID-19 with "low-level restrictions" - the exact definition of which is not clear. 

Lockdowns in Phase B will be "unlikely" but still "possible".

Long queues of people are seen at the NSW Vaccination Centre in Homebush. Image: Getty.

People who are vaccinated will also get special privileges, compared to unvaccinated people. 

“So if you get vaccinated, there will be special rules that apply to you [once we reach Phase B]," Morrison announced on Friday. "Why? Because if you’re vaccinated, you present less of a public health risk. You are less likely to get the virus. You are less likely to transmit it."

It's not clear what those "special rules" are yet. 

Caps on international arrival will still exist in Phase B, but will be increased from Phase A. There will also be larger caps for fully vaccinated people.

Under this phase, they will also introduce new reduced quarantine arrangements for vaccinated residents.

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What does Phase C look like?

Phase C will be achieved once 80 per cent of the Australian population is fully vaccinated. At this stage, only "highly targeted" lockdowns will exist. 

The government will aim to employ "minimum ongoing baseline restrictions" and will try to minimise case numbers without the use of lockdowns. 

Other changes at Phase C include:

  • All vaccinated Australians will be exempt from domestic travel restrictions. 
  • No more caps on vaccinated Australians returning home.
  • No restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated Australians.
  • Reduced quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated inbound travellers. 
  • Unrestricted travel to new candidate countries, such as Singapore.

Like the rest of the plan out of the pandemic, there is no timeframe provided for when we are likely to reach Phase C.

Side note... Here are the things you never say in 2021. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

What does Phase D look like?

Phase D is the last step in the government's four-stage plan out of the pandemic. The government has not yet announced what percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated before we enter this phase.

At this stage, the aim will be to "live with COVID-19" like other infectious diseases such as influenza. 

International borders will open in Phase D and the government will allow uncapped inbound arrivals for all vaccinated people without quarantine, as well as uncapped arrivals of non-vaccinated travellers subject to pre-flight and on-arrival testing.  

In the community, there will be a plan to minimise cases without the use of restrictions or lockdowns.

Feature image: Getty.

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