The delay to the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out could cost the Government more than $4 billion and increase the likelihood of more lockdowns and restrictions.
The Government had initially set a roadmap to have 65% of people vaccinated by August, but this was now likely to be unachievable due to concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine. Due to the risk of blood clots, it was recommended this specific jab was not given to those under-50, meaning Australia would have to wait for additional doses of the Pfizer jab which could take until Q4 2021 to arrive.
According to a report from the McKell Institute, in a best-case scenario, Australia would delay herd immunity by 116 days from the Government’s original estimate and cost $1.3 billion. However, in a worse scenario, it could be delayed by 353 days which would cost the Government $4.1 billion due to the increased risk of further lockdowns.
Executive director, Michael Buckland, said: “These delays will increase the chance of lockdown and the economic costs that come with them. It is vital that we are clear sighted about the cost and impact of Government’s action or inaction.
“Just as it was correct for the Government to measure the economic impact of state lockdowns, so too should the Government embrace the publication of clear information about the economic impact of its vaccination roll-out program.”