Australia began administering booster shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as millions of people in its largest city, Sydney, woke up to more freedom amid an accelerating immunisation excursion.
Australia’s vaccination rate has picked up speed since July, after widely missing its initial targets, when its southeast was hit by a third wave of infections triggered by the highly infectious Delta variant forcing months-long lockdowns.
Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities and worst hit by the Delta wave, have been racing by their inoculations before little by little relaxing restrictions. Life returned close to normal on Monday in New South Wales, home to Sydney, as the state nears its 90% dual-measure vaccinations in people above 16.
“There’s a sense of optimism and enthusiasm with the customers. They are showing up in droves and they’re not afraid to use,” said Rodney Sen, owner of the Barzura restaurant in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
There are now no limits on the number of fully vaccinated guests at homes, while restaurants and entertainment venues can allow more patrons. Stadiums can function at complete capacity.
After more than 18 months of some of the world’s strictest containment policies, border restrictions have started to ease, setting in motion a plan to reopen the country to travellers amid a gaping hole in the market for casual workers.
Sen told Reuters on Monday that the restaurant had increased its pay rates to retain and attract staff.
“The public have truly got the money to use, however we are struggling to find the staff to serve them. This is a very familiar story in the restaurant industry by Sydney,” he said.
With about 181,600 situations and 1,827 deaths, Australia’s coronavirus numbers are among the lowest in the developed world.
Most new situations are being detected in Victoria, which logged 1,126 new situations on Monday. Neighbouring New South Wales reported 187 infections. Other states and territories are COVID-free or have very few situations.
The booster doses will be given to people 18 and over who took their second shot more than six months ago.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated satisfy.)
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