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The Federal Government doesn’t understand the Doherty Report

The PM often refers to the Doherty Report as a gospel text that says a 70-80 per cent vaccinated population will stop lockdown.

But, it’s been misunderstood. It turns out a 70- 80 per cent vaccination rate won’t be enough to stop lockdown if case numbers are too high.

The Doherty Institute modelling, released this month, is the basis on which the Federal government, has said that if 70 per cent of people older than 16 are vaccinated, the need for “stringent lockdowns” would be “unlikely” in Australia.

Image of Covid testing
Image via The Australian

However, this modelling is being misinterpreted by the Federal Government.

While the Doherty model outlines a path to fewer restrictions after national vaccinations hit 70 per cent, its model does not reflect the current situation.

The model assumes this 70 per cent goal for outbreaks begins in the 10s rather than hundreds, involves continuous low-level social restrictions, and a robust system for testing and isolation practices.

James McCaw holds an honorary position at the Doherty Institute, and made it known that NSW was “clearly” not in the situation Doherty modelled.

It is absolutely the case, if we want to manage the spread of virus once we have high vaccine coverage, we need those test, trace, isolation and quarantine measures to be working effectively, and at high caseloads the public health units are under a lot of stress and obviously those things are not working optimally…” he said.

“Therefore NSW needs to work to continue to reduce those case numbers and get the outbreak under control. There is a very, very clear and coherent relationship between the targets Doherty puts forward and the response required by NSW to help us get there.”

photo of vaccine
Image via BBC

Bad luck, NSW.

There are currently 753 cases in NSW, so the 70 per cent vaccination rate will not be enough to reduce case numbers and allow for eased restrictions.

Instead, according to McCaw, we need to reduce caseloads by having “stronger social measures” and strong tracing and isolation procedures.