Canberrans urged to bring forward vaccine bookings as COVID-19 outbreak worsens

The ACT has recorded 31 new coronavirus cases, at least 17 of which were in the community while infectious.

An ACT pharmacy offering COVID-19 vaccinations.

The ACT has opened its Pfizer and Moderna vaccine eligibility to people aged 60 and older. (AAP)

Canberra will give people aged 60 and older their choice of coronavirus vaccine as the ACT records 31 new COVID-19 infections.

The national capital has joined other states and territories, with the exception of Victoria, in letting over-60s book in for a Pfizer or Moderna jab.

People who have already received their first AstraZeneca dose will not be able to get a different second jab because Australia has not approved mixing vaccines.

More than 95 per cent of the territory's residents aged 50 and over are already partially vaccinated, with nearly 87 per cent double-dosed.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants people to bring forward their bookings to speed up the vaccination process before lockdown ends at 11.59pm on 14 October.

"There are earlier appointments available and we are very keen to give everyone the opportunity to get at least a first dose before we come out of lockdown in the middle of October," he told reporters.

"All of the vaccines are good, safe and effective. The bottom line is the people who are most at risk, particularly adults, they're going to be the unvaccinated."

Meanwhile, a source can be found for 17 of Thursday's 31 infections. At least that number were also in the community while infectious.

Just six were in quarantine the whole time.

Businesses will be eligible for extra financial support, funded 50-50 by territory and federal governments, to help get them through until mid-October.

The ACT expects its vaccination rate to hit 80 per cent at that point.

The latest federal data shows about 63 per cent of Canberrans aged 16 and over are double-dosed, while nearly 90 per cent have had one jab.

The full vaccination rate for children aged between 12 and 15 is nearing three per cent while 46.5 per cent have had one dose.

The ACT government is working through how any vaccine mandates for parts of the public service, apart from aged care where vaccination is already required, would work.

The aged care worker mandate is national and came into effect earlier this month.

There are 246 active COVID-19 cases in the ACT, 10 of them in hospital including three people in intensive care requiring ventilation.

Total business support applications approved since the start of the lockdown were expected to reach nearly 5,400 - valued at around $85 million - on Thursday.

Another 759 applications needed more information and 1407 had been partially assessed.

Under the revamped support plan, a grant of $10,000 for all employing small businesses, and $3,750 for non-employing businesses, will be paid to those who were eligible for the COVID-19 Business Support Grant in industries still significantly impacted by health restrictions.

A top-up payment will also be made available to large businesses.

A program to help tourism, events, hospitality, fitness and dance businesses will offer $5000 for non-employing businesses, rising to $25,000 for businesses with turnover greater than $5 million.

Published 30 September 2021 at 1:33pm, updated 30 September 2021 at 2:38pm
Source: AAP