Ask most Australians what Canberra is famous for and you will come up with a picture; politicians, parliament, roundabouts.
But Canberra, often dismissed as Australia’s most boring city, is on its way to marking an international milestone few could imagine, the most vaccinated city against Covid in the world.
Like the rest of Australia, Canberra’s vaccination program didn’t start until February and was hampered by supply problems, confusing advice on the only available vaccine, and slow uptake due to a lack of Covid risk.
It wasn’t until August, when the Delta outbreak escaped Sydney and made its way to Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory in general, that a sense of urgency took hold.
ACT public health teams began deploying the territory in earnest once the supply problems were resolved, a responsibility of the federal government. By November, the authorities estimate that almost the entire population of the territory will be vaccinated.
“Current evidence suggests that ACT will be one of the most vaccinated cities in the world,” said Territory Prime Minister Andrew Barr.
“We expect to be around 99% of the eligible population fully vaccinated by the end of November. It is a testament to ACT residents and their willingness to protect themselves, their family and their community. “
Overseas city-states like Monaco have 70% complete vaccination and Singapore is close to 80%. London has just passed 70%, despite the advantage it received in its vaccination program, compared to Australia.
But Canberrans, or “Ken Behrens”, as they called themselvesAfter a media transcription error was adopted as the unifying mascot of the last bull run, he embraced the need for vaccination almost seamlessly, with no incentive other than a lollipop.
“What has been hugely beneficial to ACT is the efficient implementation of the vaccine,” Barr said.
“Our mass vaccination centers have provided the majority of Canberra with a very easy and simple way to get vaccinated. The nurses and staff at our vaccination centers are running the most efficient vaccination programs in the country, with utilization rates close to 100% ”.
Primary care networks (GPs) and pharmacies were also part of the response, as they did throughout Australia. The ACT government also worked on its own affordable vaccination programs for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations, which Barr said helped “close the gap for many residents who would have faced challenges accessing the vaccine without additional support, and has contributed to our very high vaccination levels ”.
Canberra Federal Member Alicia Payne attributed the feat of vaccination to the Canberra community of “sensible, caring and civic people.”
“Canberra people were motivated to contribute and do their part to protect their community, and there was a joyous camaraderie and pride in taking the hit, and Canberra people proudly shared and liked the post-vaccination photos on the social networks, ”he said.
But the same points that make Canberra the butt of (mostly) affectionate jokes across Australia are also believed to have contributed to potentially becoming the most vaccinated city in the world, with minimal fuss.
ACT’s population (just over 430,000 people) is also, on average, one of Australia’s. more educated and better paid. Canberra residents may have to endure a winter that lasts from March to November, but their median weekly income, according to census data, is $ 350 a week higher than the national average.
Canberrans are more likely to have a tertiary education compared to the rest of the nation, with 30% of the population listing their occupation as professional. Public administration represents almost 20% of the workforce, while defense represents another 6%. And as much as people like the ACT, they also love to quit, something they haven’t been able to do for a while.
Vaccines have been sold as Australia’s ticket to normality and the Covid vaccine was generally adopted by the eligible population of the country once it became widely available. Australia should reach an average vaccination rate of 80% across the country by December, which means that the borders between Covid-zero states will fall and travel may resume (although vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities and indigenous communities, still have concerns about whether it has been done to protect them).
This month Melbourne won the unenviable title of having the longest cumulative lockdown in the world, totaling over 250 days and counting. Sydney, the country’s most populous city, emerged from a 106-day lockdown on Monday, having reached a vaccination target of 70%.
ACT’s “instant” lockdown, which began on August 12 and was originally scheduled for seven days, will expire on Friday. Despite a small but noisy group of national protesters, hailed by the conservative media, rallying the public to “save” Australia from its draconian public health policies, most Australians are preparing to transition to life. ” Normal Covid “. That is no small thing for a population that had been conditioned to keep the number of Covid cases as low as possible, helped by being an island easily closed to the rest of the world.
After spending so much time in suspended animation, most Australians, led by Canberrans, are doing what they can to safely rejoin the world. Not bad for a city that was once described as “A good sheep station, ruined”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism