PM confident on coronavirus vaccine target

Scott Morrison says Australia is capable of reaching the 70 per cent vaccination mark before 2022.
Scott Morrison says Australia is capable of reaching the 70 per cent vaccination mark before 2022.

Scott Morrison has warned lockdowns will be crucial until vaccination coverage targets are reached but he is confident of getting to a major milestone this year.

Queensland has extended its lockdown until at least Sunday after recording 13 new local infections, taking a Delta variant cluster to 31.

The prime minister said the strain made heavy restrictions necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"People now know the drill. Sadly, this is the drill we have to follow with the Delta variant," Mr Morrison told 4BC radio on Monday.

NSW on Monday recorded 207 new local cases and one death taking the national toll to 925.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said case numbers and vaccine coverage would be crucial to any decision about easing lockdown at the end of the month.

Federal and state governments are gunning for 70 per cent of people being fully immunised to shift to a new phase in the fight against the pandemic.

Under that stage, lockdowns will be less likely while 80 per cent coverage is expected to all but end city-wide shutdowns.

Australia's rollout is gathering momentum but still lags behind most of the developed world with 19 per cent of people aged over 16 fully vaccinated.

Mr Morrison is confident the 70 per cent mark will be reached this year if enough people come forward to receive both jabs.

He said lockdowns would become "more surgical" when Australia reached higher coverage levels.

"We start saying goodbye to them at 70 per cent and they become pretty much a thing of the past when we hit 80 per cent."

Mr Morrison said it was common sense that immunised residents would be able to be exempted from restrictions.

He warned businesses would need to ensure anti-discrimination laws were not breached.

Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are working on options for restriction exemptions.

The latest federal government data shows 77 per cent of Australians are willing to receive a vaccine, with the number rising in recent months.

Mr Morrison, who has come under fire for previously suggesting the rollout was not a race, is now championing a "gold medal" run to the end of the year.

Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles said Australia would continue to be the land of lockdowns until the federal government boosted vaccination rates.

"In the midst of Scott Morrison's self-congratulation, all that he has exhibited is complacency and incompetence," he told reporters.

"That is why he and his government have been getting the pandemic wrong at every turn."

Australian Associated Press