Surf Coast nears vaccine target

(Louisa Jones) 247705_13

By Luke Voogt

The Surf Coast is set to become the second local government area (LGA) in Victoria to reach 70 per cent of eligible residents fully-vaccinated this week.

According to federal health data, released weekly, the Surf Coast Shire reached 67.1 per cent on Sunday, up from 63.1 per cent the previous Sunday.

The figure is just short of the 70 per cent threshold for the first step of federal government’s plan to reopen the nation.

Under Victoria’s reopening roadmap, based on the federal plan, patron limits will increase to 30 per indoor space while public gatherings can increase to 20 fully-vaccinated people.

Caps will also increase for pools, community facilities, creative studios, weddings and funerals at the 70 per cent mark, expected on October 26.

First doses in the Surf Coast Shire, which has a median age of 42, have exceeded 95 per cent for residents aged 15 and over.

Queenscliff, which has a median age of 59, surpassed that mark a week ago and continues to lead the nation’s LGAs for fully-vaccinated residents on 83.4 per cent.

The previous week the Borough of Queenscliff became the first municipality to reach the Commonwealth’s second reopening target of 80 per cent.

Under the federal government plan, released in July, 80 per cent is the threshold for lockdowns to “end almost entirely” with only “highly-targeted” lockdowns of vulnerable communities.

Victoria’s reopening roadmap allows residents to have home visitors and resume community sport at 80 per cent.

The state’s roadmap also includes significantly increased patron limits for venues and ceremonies when Victoria hits the target, expected to occur on November 5.

In greater Geelong the percentage of fully-vaccinated residents increased from 53 to 56.5 in the week to Sunday, with first doses jumping from 81.2 to 86.5 per cent.

Eighty per cent of Victorians will have received their first dose by Tuesday, two days later than state government initially predicted.

The milestone will trigger minor changes to restrictions in regional Victoria at 11.59pm on Tuesday with patron limits outdoors for venues to increase to a maximum of 30 people.