Australia on Tuesday said the country has achieved its target of administering the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 80% of its population aged 16 and above.
“As of about 10.30 a.m. this morning, Australia will have achieved the 80% first dose vaccination rate," ABC News quoted Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt as saying.
“That 80% mark is a critical health measure, but it is also a milestone for people recovering their freedoms,” he added.
According to the Health Ministry data, 16.48 million people received their first dose by Monday which makes 79.9% of the total population aged 16 and above, while so far 11.82 million people have been fully vaccinated which is 57.4% of the total population aged 16 and above.
“Vaccination, however, remains the most important and safest way for Australians to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19,” Hunt said on Twitter.
Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced to reopen its international borders to fully vaccinated citizens. The move is expected to take effect in November.
However, he said that initially the borders will be opened to states that have met the targets and vaccinated at least 80% of their populations.
So far, Australia has reported 115,800 COVID-19 cases with 51,179 in the past 28 days after the country was hit by the Delta variant, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University.
About 1,357 people have lost their lives to the deadly virus since the start of the pandemic.