Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews is hopeful national cabinet will change the definition of fully vaccinated to mean three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, paving the way for changes to the state’s mandate.
“This is not a two-dose thing, of two doses and a bonus,” he told reporters on Thursday as Victoria recorded 15 deaths and 13,755 new infections.
“International evidence, our own experience, the views of experts and hopefully the confirmation of both Atagi and national cabinet later today will mean that everyone knows and understands that this is a three-dose project.”
Andrews has been pushing for the definition change for some time and had expected it would happen following last week’s meeting of state and territory leaders.
He denied there was pushback from other jurisdictions on the issue, instead blaming the hold-up on delayed advice from the national advisory panel on vaccines.
“No one’s upset about it, don’t read anything into that,” Andrews said.
The premier also gave his strongest indication yet that people will be required to have three doses to enter restaurants, bars and cafes as well as hairdressers and other beauty services.
“At this stage it is two doses and I think it will very soon be three doses to get the green tick,” Andrews said.
Workers in health and aged care, disability, emergency services, corrections, quarantine accommodation and food distribution have already been told they must get their third dose to continue working on site.
Some 35% of Victorians have received a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, with a remaining 2.3 million eligible.
There are 1,057 Victorians in hospital with Covid-19, including 117 in intensive care.
According to data from the health department, almost 23% of patients admitted to hospital and 35% of those in intensive care are unvaccinated, despite accounting for less than 6% of the total population.
In contrast, those who have received three doses make up only 6% of cases in hospital and intensive care.
Meanwhile, New South Wales recorded 29 deaths and 17,316 new infections. There are 2,722 people with the virus in the state’s hospitals, with 181 in intensive care.
The health minister, Brad Hazzard, said more than 36% of eligible people in NSW had received their third dose of the Covid vaccine but he stressed the figure was not high enough.
“The numbers of boosters are not where we need them to be to keep people safe,” he said.
“In [the Royal North Shore Hospital] today, there are seven people in ICU and not one of them has had the booster.”
He said it may be necessary to mandate boosters in some sectors including health and education if uptake doesn’t improve, while the premier, Dominic Perrottet, noted the lifting of restrictions next month also hinged on a higher booster rate.
The Northern Territory is yet to release its latest Covid numbers, but some health experts are calling for a region-wide lockdown to protect remote Indigenous communities. The Central Land Council’s chief executive Lesley Turner told ABC radio an urgent lockdown of remote communities “will save lives”.
In Queensland, there were 11,600 new Covid infections and 15 deaths, while there are 829 people in hospital with the virus, including 48 in intensive care.
In South Australia there were 1,953 new cases, in the Australian Capital Territory 884 and in Tasmania 726. None recorded a death.
Western Australia recorded 12 new cases, 10 of which were linked to its Omicron outbreak.