A landmark British study has revealed vaccines help stop those infected with COVID from passing it onto others, suggesting ‘leakages’ out of hotel quarantine could soon end.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the experiment, which was based on “the most comprehensive real-world data” derived from monitoring 24,000 households.
The study is significant because Australia has prioritised using its vaccine supply on those working in its hotel quarantine facilities.
Public Health England tracked households in which a person became infected after receiving one jab against those who were unvaccinated.
Those who had the Pfizer jab were 49 per cent less likely to transmit the virus to others in their home, while those who had the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine were 38 per cent less likely.
However, this crucially builds on separate evidence that vaccines also stop inoculated people from getting the virus in the first place by two thirds, offering an effective double protection.
“It further reinforces that vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic as they protect you and they may prevent you from unknowingly infecting someone in your household,” said Hancock.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, it was revealed Australia has managed to double its administering capacity to deliver more than one million doses over the past 19 days. This means more than two million Australians have been vaccinated since the rollout began 70 days ago.
“We are building capacity, we are getting a little better every day,” Commodore Young said. “While this is a wonderful achievement, we still have what to do to ensure that the vaccines we have available across the country are required to protect our most vulnerable Australians.
“I want to focus on supply, distribution and administration of the vaccine.”
In March, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state had vaccinated all its hotel quarantine workers.
A cluster on Sydney’s Northern Beaches led to most states and territories closing their borders to NSW at Christmas, while Brisbane entered a three-day lockdown in January with its own outbreak and Melbourne a five-day lockdown in February.
NSW is currently taking the vast bulk of returned citizens, with Sydney quarantine hotels now accepting 3,000 entrants per week. The next highest is Queensland, taking 1,000.
The news comes after Australia’s arrival caps in February returned to their previously higher December 2020 levels, which were cut at the start of 2021 following a second COVID cluster in Sydney.
The January temporary cuts formed part of the biggest overhaul of the quarantine program since its inception, and also included a provision for passengers to wear masks on all domestic and international flights; for hotel staff to be tested daily and for ex-pats to require a negative result before boarding a repatriation flight.
Arrival caps were introduced in July and sat at 4,000, before increasing to 6,500 at the end of 2020 and then decreasing to just over 4,000 in January 2021.
Australia has currently approved two vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/Astrazeneca.