Long lockdowns ‘unlikely’ at 80 per cent vaccinated

The Institute’s Director of Epidemiology Professor Jodie McVernon says with a high caseload in NSW it is not possible to have a "freedom day" and restrictions have to be gradually eased.

In an interview with Sunday Agenda, Ms McVernon revealed the "parallel" work was going on because the original national cabinet plan envisaged low or minimal transmission for the country to be opened up at 70 and 80 per cent vaccination rates.

"So I think it’s important to differentiate between what our [national cabinet] report is discussing which is making a transition from a state of no or very few cases into a more immunised environment and then thinking about how transmission might be managed there as opposed to coming down off a high caseload," Professor McVernon said.

"We were set up for a situation where caseloads would be small, that any outbreak would be managed, obviously we were not envisaging shifting from Phase A to Phase B from a situation of lockdown, which is where we are now.

"This ongoing piece to understand how moving from a high caseload environment through vaccination and how that can help to support the easing of public health measures is a really important parallel piece of work and we are working closely with our colleague James Wood at University of NSW who’s leading that body of work."