Extra federal lockdown support expected

People in lockdown are set to receive extra federal financial support, with Sydney expected to remain under restrictions for at least another month.

Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has batted away calls for a return to JobKeeper, but says additional support will be announced.

“It is important when you get into a particular long lockdown period, such as this has become, we recognise many of those who are losing work obviously have ongoing financial commitments that were premised on the basis they would have work security,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“They’re the types of considerations we’ve been weighing.”

Victoria and South Australia have emerged from lockdown after getting Delta outbreaks under control.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to extend the lockdown of Sydney and surrounds until the end of August.

It was due to finish at the end of this week, but new daily cases numbers remain in the hundreds and dozens of people are still out and about while infectious.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has penned an opinion piece calling for a return of JobKeeper, which his federal counterparts have resisted.

Currently, people on welfare payments and outside nationally recognised hotspots are not eligible for federal disaster payments of up to $600 a week.

Lockdowns and vaccination rates are inextricably linked.

Nationally, 16.7 per cent of people over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated as hesitancy about AstraZeneca and supply shortages of Pfizer remain.

Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation member Kristine Macartney has stressed AstraZeneca is perfectly safe for the overwhelmingly majority of people. 

The expert panel has changed its advice about AstraZeneca a number of times in response to concerns about rare blood clots.

But all adults living in Sydney are strongly recommended to get any jab they can access.

“When COVID is in the community, or when it’s expected to be in the community then the advice is absolutely there to utilise AstraZeneca in younger age groups,” Professor Macartney told ABC radio. 

“From the get-go, we know this is a safe vaccine in most people overwhelmingly, we know it’s highly effective.”

Professor Macartney said the risk of developing a rare blot clot after getting AstraZeneca was one in 50,000. 

This made it about as risky as taking antibiotics or getting in a car.

Additional Pfizer supplies are expected to arrive over September and October. 

Between 87,000 and 125,000 weekly doses of Moderna were forecast to join the rollout in September pending approval by the medical regulator.

The numbers were expected to rise to 430,000 to 615,000 a week in the final three months of the year.

Initial doses of Novavax, also yet to be approved and seen as a booster shot, were on track to arrive in Australia before the end of the year.

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