The ACT's "stunning" COVID-19 vaccination rates are tipped to strengthen its economic recovery as the territory emerges as one of the world's most highly vaccinated jurisdictions.
Canberra has overtaken Japan and the United Kingdom when measuring rates of the entire population receiving first vaccine doses, and is close to world leaders such as Singapore and Canada.
A new Deloitte Access Economics report says the ACT's high vaccination rates have it poised for a more robust economic recovery as the vaccine, masks and QR codes replace lockdowns as the main defence against COVID.
Economist and partner at Deloitte Access Economics, Chris Richardson, said vaccination rates were the leading indicator of recovery, and showed that the ACT's prospects were better than anywhere else.
"Canberra is stunningly well-vaccinated, one of the best vaccinated places on earth," he said.
"Those vaccination rates give every indication that the ACT can do the transition that NSW is commencing, but it can do it better and safer."
About 81 per cent of the ACT's total population has received a first dose - a rate similar to those in Denmark and Canada.
The territory's rate of fully vaccinated residents trails further behind those nations, and is closer to double dose rates in Hong Kong and the United States.
ACT health authorities recorded 30 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday. Sixteen were linked to existing cases or outbreaks, and the remaining 14 were under investigation.
The ACT is better insured against ongoing lockdowns than any other place in AustraliaChris Richardson
Seven people were in quarantine for their entire infectious period and six spent some time in the community and could present a risk of transmission to others.
As Canberra prepares to end its lockdown on Friday, and NSW lifts its restrictions today, the Deloitte Access Economics report said the ACT's public sector and higher incomes had helped buffer its economy. However the capital's high vaccination rates would be its "trump card", letting it reopen more safely than other jurisdictions.
Mr Richardson said the recovery in 2020 had been fragile because it has depended on zero COVID cases.
The next phase would also involve fragility for different reasons, including the risk of further outbreaks of the Delta variant.
"Things can get away on you, and you might need to rely on lockdowns. It's just the ACT is better insured against ongoing lockdowns than any other place in Australia," he said.
More than 95 per cent of the ACT's population aged 12 and above had received its first dose, while 69 per cent was fully vaccinated as of Sunday.
Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said first vaccination dose rates were a good indicator of full vaccination rates. The ACT's was achieving "extraordinary" vaccination coverage, Professor Bennett said.
"It'll be hard for other states to catch up. But how fantastic to have that internal benchmark to try and emulate," she said.
Professor Bennett said the take-up in vaccines among 12-15 year olds had been rapid in Canberra.
The ACT's demographics, geography and territory government-level rollout had all bolstered its vaccination rates, she said.
Vaccine uptake tended to be faster among parents and their families.
"That's where a lot of people did see uptake, because people were concerned about their kids," she said.
"And that would tie also with the really extraordinary acceleration of rollout only just recently made available to 12- to 15-year-olds."
The ACT had used its COVID-free period before August to vaccinate people quickly, Professor Bennett said.
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Its smaller geographic size, and its relative lack of urban density, also removed barriers for the vaccination rollout.
The Deloitte Access Economics report said the rebound in jobs nationally would depend on vaccinations, but warned that recovery in lockdown-hit sectors would extend well into 2022.
It said despite political debate over when different states and territories would lift their lockdowns, it would make little difference to the recovery.
Rising government spending on social services and AUKUS-related programs would help support the territory's longer-term prospects, the report said.
Leading indicators on employment already showed a significant hit to jobs in Canberra.
The worst effects were in customer-facing industries including retail, hospitality and arts and recreation.
"That hit to the labour market comes as the territory was already facing a weakening," the report said.
"Employment gains through the pandemic recovery reversed over the last couple of months and the participation rate is trending lower."
While border restrictions had hurt the city's universities, and businesses supported by students, the reopening of borders would bring international students back to the capital, the report said.
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