Interest rates are rising and tech stocks are likely to head in the other direction

We live in strange and ridiculous times. Nowhere is this more evident than on financial markets.

After blithely trading on to record highs while the seeds of a pandemic germinated in China in January and February last year, supposedly forward-looking share markets cratered when the obvious became apparent in late February and March last year.

Then, with almost as much panic as the sell-off, shares came roaring back in a speculative frenzy, leaving many markets (notably the US) hitting fresh records, even as the nations they were based in suffered their sharpest recessions since at least the Great Depression.

As is often the case, once the buying started, it seemed the less connected a stock or other asset was to an identifiable income stream the faster and higher it rose. Bitcoin anyone.


In part, it was the forward-looking nature of markets, with early bets on the vaccines, which are only now just being rolled out, ending the pandemic.

But the biggest driving force was the unprecedented flood of money and record-low interest rates from central banks that has left the world awash with ultra-cheap cash with few financially rational places left to invest it.

When the real rate of return on ‘safe’ assets, like AAA-rated government bonds, is deeply negative — you are losing money holding them — the cost of parking money in assets that offer no income but the potential for speculative gains falls and the temptation rises dramatically.

Along with growing disquiet and distrust around the central bank actions that have pushed interest rates so low, these negative rates are a major reason why professional investors have been right in there with amateurs throwing money at bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as tech companies that either make no profits or generate earnings that are a fraction of their soaring share market valuations.

For more conservative investors, the perceived safety of bricks and mortar has been the investment of choice.

Rate trigger for a ‘long overdue correction’

So, now that these benchmark bond rates have begun rising, sharply, it’s no wonder many investors are starting to sweat.

For some, the heat is getting too much and they’re fleeing the kitchen, causing sell-offs in the most vulnerable markets, such as tech stocks and cryptocurrencies.

AMP Capital’s head of investment strategy Shane Oliver says we could see further sell-downs but not, he thinks, a crash.

“Bond yields [interest rates] could still go a lot higher in the short term before they settle down again and this could cause the long overdue correction in equities,” he says.

As we’ve seen in the sell-offs so far, companies that don’t make profits and speculative assets with no income streams are the most vulnerable, but others are also at risk.

“Because these stocks rely on more earnings in the future, they are seen as ‘long duration’ stocks and so they are more vulnerable to an increase in the bond yield used to discount those earnings.

“Also at risk, but less so, are yield plays [higher dividend stocks] that benefited from the ‘search for yield’ flowing from falling interest rates and bond yields — e.g. telcos and utility stocks.

“Cyclical stocks like materials [miners/energy producers], retailers, industrials and even financials are less at risk as their earnings will rise more with economic recovery and so are more likely to see earnings upgrades.”

And this is exactly what we’ve seen on share markets over the past 24 hours, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq down but Australia’s commodity and banking dominated ASX 200 index rising solidly.

Will central banks again soothe investor nerves?

This may prove to be a short-term hiccup, with central banks once again moving in to soothe the jitters.

The Reserve Bank tried to do this on Monday after the three-year bond yield rose above its 0.1 per cent target, but the market practically laughed off its billion-dollar intervention.

Most RBA watchers expect it to follow singer Janis Joplin’s advice to “try just a little bit harder”.

“The most likely response from the RBA is a show of resolve, with significantly increased YCC [yield curve control] buying in coming days and weeks,” say CBA’s rate watchers.

The US Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, now has his turn, with the opportunity to offer soothing words talking down the risk of rising interest rates during two days of public congressional testimony.

That’s exactly what Rabobank’s head of financial markets research in the Asia-Pacific, Michael Every, expects will happen.

“Indeed, if those magicians have to face a choice between rising real rates and levitating markets, which one do you think they will make disappear? Obviously rising yields, through outright yield curve control.

“At which point, almost all price discovery will follow through the hidden trap door.”

In other words, if money is free for big investors and they think central banks will keep the party going indefinitely the sky is no limit for asset prices.

When good news again becomes bad news

The irony is that the rising bond yields are a sign that economies are recovering from COVID-19, that firms will be able to increase both sales and prices, and that profits should rise.

They should be welcome good news after the worst year for most economies since the 1930s.

But investors are simply petrified that any recovery in economic growth and profits won’t keep up with the rise of interest rates from rock bottom levels.

Remember, at current levels with US 10-year bond yields still below 1.5 per cent, a return to something even approaching a more normal rate of 3 per cent would see interest rates more than double.

That’s one of the traps of ultra-low rates — a small percentage point increase is a massive percentage rise in interest costs.

‘Bringing down the house’

But, while central banks may move to keep a lid on rising rates in the short term to buy markets a bit more time, it’s unlikely they can keep doing that indefinitely.

“It is again magical thinking to believe this trick can be pulled off without literally bringing down the house,” argues Michael Every.

Bond interest rates often jump at the beginning of an economic recovery
Bond interest rates often jump at the beginning of an economic recovery.(Supplied: AMP Capital, Bloomberg)

Shane Oliver is less dramatic in his forecast, but still sees a return to the gravity of higher interest rates as inevitable.

“There is a strong case to be made that the disinflation seen since the 1970s is coming to an end and that the long-term trend in inflation is at or close to bottoming,” he observes.

“Central banks are now throwing the kitchen sink at beating deflation and disinflation just as they threw it at high inflation in the 1980s and early 1990s.

“There is a good chance — that helped along by massive government spending, governments becoming more interventionist in economies, a reversal in globalisation and a decline in workers relative to consumers — they will win this time, ultimately resulting in a sustained rise in inflation, but that’s probably still a few years away.”

Hopefully, enough time for policymakers, investors and consumers to figure out how they are going to survive financially in a world of higher interest rates.

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Global Covid-19 cases plummet by 50% since January peak despite colder temperatures boosting transmission rates — RT World News

According to a new tally, there has been a steep decline in new Covid-19 cases worldwide – a somewhat precipitous drop of 50 percent from the January peak, despite research indicating cooler temperatures improve transmissibility.

New global case numbers have reached their lowest levels in four months, dropping below 400,000 to roughly 362,000 new cases, according to the latest AFP tally, which noted that new infections worldwide are down 12 percent over the past week, from a high of 743,000 in January.

This constitutes the sharpest and most prolonged drop in new infections since the start of the pandemic.

Lest anyone get too carried away, this drop in confirmed cases doesn’t tell the whole story, as not only do authorities around the globe not know the true number of infected (accounting for untested, asymptomatic and so on) but countries also have different counting and testing practices which make determining the true global figure nigh on impossible.

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While new cases have increased by 11 percent in the Middle East, they are down by 28 percent in the US and Canada, by nine percent in Africa, Asia and Europe and by seven percent in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Portugal cut its new cases by over half, to 2,100 new cases reported per day while Iraq saw a spike of 62 percent in new cases, to 2,900 per day. 

Despite gains in curbing the numbers of new infections, the US still holds the grim title of being the country with the highest number of new infections, 72,800 on average, despite there being a 28-percent decrease in seven days. 

The average daily deaths from Covid-19 in the US is 2,566, 1,037 in Brazil, 982 in Mexico, 551 in the UK, and 463 in Russia. So far in the pandemic, there have been over 2.4 million deaths worldwide.

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These latest figures come in contrast to research into the seasonal transmissibility of the coronavirus by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the US Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

SARS-CoV-2 belongs to a family of human coronaviruses which thrives in colder, less humid weather, with decreased transmission in warmer, more humid months. 

The researchers compared and contrasted daily low-temperature data against recorded new Covid-19 cases in 50 countries in the Northern Hemisphere between January 22 and April 6, 2020. 

As temperatures rose, the rate of new cases decreased, and vice versa. 

For seasonal temperatures between 30 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, a one-degree increase correlated with a one percent decrease in the rate of increases in Covid-19 cases. By contrast, a one-degree decrease was associated with a 3.7 percent increase in the rate of new confirmed cases.

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“Although Covid-19 is an infectious disease that will have non-temperature-dependent transmission, our research indicates that it also may have a seasonal component,” said co-author Aruni Bhatnagar.

These insights reinforce pre-existing ideas about the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other seasonal viruses, and may inform future public policy as the world opens up in the coming months as vaccine deployment begins in earnest. 

It may also have implications for travel between the northern and southern hemispheres, with their opposing seasons, as well as for the development of future generations of Covid-19 vaccines.

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All eyes on rates amid global debt mountain

Cheap money can’t last forever, and many are unprepared for the day interest rates head upwards.

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Queensland government rates diet soda healthier than juice | Queensland Country Life

Queensland farmers are once again in the firing line, with citrus growers this time the targets of the state government’s “insanity”.

On Friday, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation decided fresh juice with no added sugar would lose its 5-star health rating and drop to as low as 2 stars, ranking it lower on the Health Star Rating system than diet soda at 3.5 stars.

It’s a move Queensland government representatives on the forum, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner voted in support of, despite appeals from the horticulture industry to rate 100 per cent fresh fruit and vegetable juice at 4 stars.

For Queensland-based Grove Juice managing director Archer Walters, “it’s a flawed decision”.

“We’re angry and we feel as though it’s a wrong decision. It’s a flawed calculator and it discriminates against juice,” he said.

With up to 70pc of the fruit used in juice nationwide grown in Queensland, Mr Walters said they’re unsure of the impact to their business, but “you can only think that it’s going to confuse consumers”.

“We employ 150 Queensland people…we’re buying fruit from all over Queensland and we think confusion with consumers can lead to less demand,” he said.

“We’re very disappointed with the Queensland government; the ministers have let Australian farmers down and they’ve let Australian workers down.

“We’re a business that’s been around for 52 years, Golden Circle has been around for 80-odd years; these are businesses and families that have been around for a really long time utilising natural resources and now they’re being tarnished because someone in office wants to tweak an Excel spreadsheet.

“I believe we had enough votes there to get this across the line, so I’d love for Mr Furner, Queensland Health and the Premier to comment on this because they’re the ones who have stuffed this up.”

The Australian Department of Health had proposed to amend the Health Star Calculator by adding two modifying points to the fruit, vegetable, nut and legume score, but it was not supported by ministers representing the states and territories, much to the disgust of Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

“The [forum] failed the leadership test by retaining a non-sensical health star rating system,” Mr Littleproud said.

“States and territories that supported this including Queensland, Northern Territory, ACT and Victoria have let down our farmers, consumers and Australia’s $800 million juice industry.

“They have made a mockery of the rating system and have ignored Australian government and industry concerns. It would appear as though the states that voted for this are beholden to their bureaucrats.”

He labelled the rating of diet soda healthier than 100pc fruit and vegetable juice as “insanity” – a label that Queensland opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett agrees with.

“This decision goes against basic common sense,” Mr Perrett said.

“Mark Furner and Yvette D’Ath should hang their heads in shame. They clearly don’t understand what their vote means for consumers and our farmers.”

Both Mr Furner and Ms D’Ath were asked to comment on why they voted the way they did, as well as whether they would give kids diet soda for breakfast over pure orange juice, but neither responded.

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Lamb House boarded up ahead of likely sale to recoup unpaid rates

Up high, the cracked tiles on the front roof are still broken, and there has been no attempt to place a tarpaulin over the glaring hole in the roof.

The Department of Environment and Science said that under Queensland’s Heritage Act, the owner of the property, Joy Lamb, must take steps to prevent deterioration.

Brisbane’s derelict Lamb House at Kangaroo Point this month.Credit:Tony Moore

“Owners of heritage-listed places are responsible for their management and preservation, and the Act obliges owners to undertake essential repairs and maintenance to prevent damage or deterioration to these places,” a spokesman said.

“On 12 October, 2020, the Department of Environment and Science issued a repair and maintenance notice under the Queensland Heritage Act requiring Mrs Lamb to make the building secure.”

At least the grass around the property, built between 1901-02, has recently been mowed.

In the backyard an upturned claw-foot bath sits beneath a Hills Hoist in view of plants growing from ornate chimney pots.

An upturned bath lies abandoned beneath the Hills Hoist in the backyard of “Home”, known colloquially as Lamb House.

An upturned bath lies abandoned beneath the Hills Hoist in the backyard of “Home”, known colloquially as Lamb House.Credit:Tony Moore

Home was built for prominent Brisbane draper John Lamb in the Queen Anne style and has remained in the family’s hands.

The red-brick house has been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register since October 1992.

In June 2019, council and the Queensland government became nervous that the federation-era property and its grounds could become developed so a temporary development ban was placed on it.

Last August, council decided to call in $321,000 worth of rates owed by Mrs Lamb. She and her family were given until December to begin the repayments.

Council finance chairman Adam Allan said selling properties due to overdue rates was always a last resort.

“It only follows multiple attempts and options for the outstanding rates to be paid,” Cr Allan said. “We hope the outstanding rates are paid.

“If the rates are not paid, the property will be listed for auction in the first half of this year, which would be in accordance with the City of Brisbane Regulation 2012.”

The sale proceeds would be used to pay outstanding land tax, rates and fees, with the remainder to be given to the owner in accordance with council regulations.

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Central bank keeps rates steady

Inflation is expected to remain elevated in the next few months, the central bank said. Headline inflation hit a two-year high of 4.2% in January, as meat and vegetable prices spiked due to supply shortages. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE CENTRAL BANK on Thursday kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low to support the Philippine economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno also said inflation is likely to remain elevated but manageable over the next few months.

In its first policy setting for the year, the Monetary Board maintained the overnight reverse repurchase rate at a record low of 2%. The lending and deposit facilities were likewise kept at 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively.

“The balance of risks to the inflation outlook now appears to be broadly balanced around the baseline path in 2021 but is seen to continue leaning toward the downside in 2022,” Mr. Diokno said in an online briefing.

“Tighter supply of meat products owing in part to the African Swine Fever outbreak in the country could lend further upside pressures on inflation,” he added.

A BusinessWorld poll showed 17 out of 18 analysts expected the Monetary Board to leave policy settings unchanged at the meeting on Thursday.

Headline inflation reached a two-year high at 4.2% in January, as prices of meat and vegetables spiked due to supply shortages.

Meanwhile, the BSP raised its average inflation forecast for the year to 4%, the upper end of its 2-4% target range, from 3.2% previously.

The central bank also lowered its inflation forecast for next year to 2.7% from 2.9% previously, BSP Deputy Governor Francisco G. Dakila said in the same briefing.

“On balance, the Monetary Board is of the view that the manageable inflation outlook continues to allow the BSP to maintain an accommodative policy stance and thus complement crucial fiscal policy measures in supporting economic activity and market confidence,” Mr. Diokno said.

The BSP also raised its forecast for average Dubai crude oil prices for 2021 and 2022 to $54.65 (from $47.57) and $51.98 ($47.44) per barrel, respectively.

“We know the driver behind that recovery in oil prices, that as the global economy gains momentum, as we are able to deal with the pandemic, and as restrictions are relaxed more, then there is going to be a recovery in oil demand,” Mr. Dakila said.

Avoiding a knee-jerk reaction to raise rates was the “optimal decision at this point,” allowing the BSP to support growth, ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said in a note.

“BSP officials are cognizant of the ills of high inflation but they are also fully aware that any rate hike would have little to no impact on the price of pork or vegetables, the two main sources of the breach,” he said.

Mr. Mapa said he expects the central bank to go for a policy action once the second-round effects from inflation become apparent.

“We expect BSP to retain its accommodative stance in the medium term to support the recovery and only consider a reversal should second-round effects surface,” he added.

Alex Holmes, an economist at Capital Economics, said the pause will only be momentary and further easing will be on the table by the latter part of the year.

“The rise in inflation should prove temporary, a point the BSP stressed in Thursday’s meeting. Fuel and transport price inflation will begin to drop back in the second quarter, while the upward pressure on food prices from the disruption caused by typhoons late last year should subside,” he added.

The BSP slashed rates by a cumulative 200 basis points last year, at a time when the economy saw its worst contraction on record due to the pandemic.

Despite an unprecedented policy easing by the BSP that included massive buying of government securities, banks have remained risk-averse in extending loans.

Bank lending fell for the first time in more than 14 years in December, reflecting weak consumer and business activity.

The next Monetary Board policy meeting is scheduled on March 25. — L.W.T. Noble with Reuters

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France Stalls Between Stubbornly High Infection Rates and Slow Vaccine Rollout

PONTOISE, France — In the town of Pontoise, which gently slopes upward from the Oise River about 15 miles northwest of Paris, Mayor Stéphanie Von Euw is laser-focused on her new vaccination center — a blocky, sand-colored recreational facility where up to 450 shots are administered daily to those over 75 or otherwise at high risk.

Ms. Von Euw was energetic on a recent visit, chatting with doctors and vaccine recipients. But here in Pontoise, as in many other parts of France, there is no hiding that a winter of pandemic doldrums has set in.

“To keep my chin up, I try to follow this rule: I take one day at a time,” Ms. Von Euw said across a table covered with chocolate boxes left by recent vaccine recipients. “If I look to the future, I lose myself.”

Caught between infection rates that remain stubbornly high despite months of economically damaging restrictions and a slow-moving vaccine rollout, there is a growing and glum sense in France that the country’s battle against the pandemic has stalled.

Last month, the country was bracing for a third nationwide lockdown when President Emmanuel Macron unexpectedly decided against it. He made a calculated gamble that he could tighten restrictions just enough to stave off a new surge of virus cases while avoiding the heavier economic and social toll of more drastic measures like those currently in force in Germany or Britain.

Weeks later, it is still unclear whether that bet will pay off or if, as some health experts have warned, there is little chance of containing the spread without a strict lockdown.

The average number of daily infections, at about 20,000, has neither spiked nor fallen much over the past month. But more contagious variants from other parts of the world are spreading.

Arnaud Fontanet, an epidemiologist at the Institut Pasteur who is also a member of the government’s Covid-19 advisory council, said on Sunday that the chances of containing the epidemic without a tight lockdown are thin.

“Everything will depend on our ability to control the spread of the British variant,” Mr. Fontanet told the Journal du Dimanche. “If we wait too long, we could be taken by surprise by the epidemic’s acceleration.”

Hospitalizations are stable but still at high levels, with about 28,000 Covid-19 patients across the country, including about 3,300 taking up more than half of the capacity in intensive care units.

Some experts said they worry that a plateau in infection numbers at these higher levels leaves little room to maneuver if hospitals face a new spike in cases.

The government is projecting optimism, and the health minister even told Franceinfo radio on Tuesday that the country might not have to go under lockdown ever again. But the public’s mood is one of uncertainty.

“There is a lot of wavering,” said Odile Essombé-Missé, 79, who was standing in line at the vaccination center in Pontoise for her 85-year-old husband’s injection. Asked about a new lockdown, she just shrugged.

“We put up with it,” she said finally, with her eyeglasses, perched atop a colorful blue and orange face mask, fogged over.

Mr. Macron has vowed that all adults who want to get vaccines would be offered them by summer’s end.

More than 2.2 million out of France’s population of 67 million have received at least one dose so far, and nearly 250,000 have been fully vaccinated. But with 3.1 doses administered per 100 people, according to a New York Times database, France still trails neighbors like Italy or Spain.

“We could double, even triple the rhythm,” Ms. Von Euw said, if her center were allocated more supply of vaccines.

But the European Union has struggled in recent weeks to secure a steady supply of doses. The French government has managed to open up a promising 1.7 million new appointment slots in the coming weeks as deliveries roll in.

“I’m not yet immune, but I’m still reassured,” said Eliane Coudert, an 80-year-old retiree who had come from the neighboring town of Éragny to Pontoise for her shot. She was sitting patiently with a handful of newly inoculated companions in a small waiting area, where doctors monitor for adverse side-effects.

Ms. Coudert, who is diabetic, said she was determined to get vaccinated so she could see her great-granddaughters again.

“I see them a bit outside,” she said. “But we can’t kiss each other.”

France has been under a night curfew since mid-January and restaurants, cafes, museums or movie theaters are closed, turning even the liveliest of French cities into ghost towns after 6 p.m.

So in some ways, the vaccination center — where the local Rotary Club sometimes brings croissants and other pastries — represented a much-needed social outing for seniors who have spent weeks or months in near-isolation.

“The restrictions imposed by social distancing are starting to exasperate everyone,” said Dr. Edouard Devaud, an infectious diseases specialist at the Centre Hospitalier René-Dubos, the main hospital in Pontoise. “There isn’t any speck of light at the end of the tunnel.”

Variants of the virus, mainly the British one, now account for one in seven of every new infection. Some areas, like the Paris region, have reported even higher proportions. But the country’s infection numbers have otherwise remained frustratingly stable.

Dr. Devaud said the average number of Covid-19 patients in his unit — about five to 10, plus another dozen in intensive care — was completely manageable so far thanks to better understanding and treatment of the disease.

But the prospect of a new lockdown worries him.

After the first lockdown last spring canceled all non-urgent care, doctors were alarmed to see the consequences of deferred treatment, like deteriorating cancers.

Health professionals have also seen an increased incidence of young people with severe mental health issues.

“So we need to get out of this pandemic,” Dr. Devaud said.

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WA lockdown continues, potential UK COVID strain found in Melbourne quarantine hotel, Captain Tom Moore dies from COVID, RBA holds interest rates

About two million people in the Perth, Peel and South West areas of WA were plunged into a five day lockdown on Sunday in order to stop any potential spread of the virus from the guard.
Mr McGowan said he was not afraid to apologise for the saga but defended the swift action taken after they found out about the case.

“I’m very sorry for what’s occurred,” he said.

“This has been debilitating for lots of people. Obviously we went for 10 months without a single case and everyone in WA was very happy about that, this has been a shock to all of us.

“We have swung to action very quickly , [on Sunday] within a matter of hours we put in place a huge number of rules.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan says Perth’s lockdown will remain in place until at least 6pm on Friday.Credit:Getty

Mr McGowan also admitted he would have been wearing a mask if he was in the hotel but did not place blame on the guards who had just been following health advice given to them by authorities.

“If I had been in a hotel I would’ve worn a mask,” he said.

“Obviously the security guards have been following the rules that have been put in place by the infectious disease experts.”

Mr McGowan defended the health advice given to the state, which he said had held the state in good stead for the past 10 months.

“Over the last year we have had the best outcomes of anywhere in the world, obviously this has been a significant setback,” he said.

Outside of the existing lockdown mask requirements quarantine security guards will now also be required to wear masks at all times while working.

If WA continues to record no new cases over the next two days it is likely the lockdown will end by Friday but Mr McGowan said some restrictions including gathering limits would likely remain.

He said it was expected the government would announce the new restrictions by Friday morning.

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WA lockdown continues, Captain Tom Moore dies with COVID, RBA holds interest rates, AstraZeneca COVID vaccine data suggests transmission reduction

Similar scenarios are unfolding around the country as states expand eligibility for the shots. Although low-income communities of colour have been hit hardest by COVID-19, health officials in many cities say that people from wealthier, largely white neighbourhoods have been flooding vaccination appointment systems and taking an outsized share of the limited supply.

People in underserved neighbourhoods have been tripped up by a confluence of obstacles, including registration phone lines and websites that can take hours to navigate, and lack of transportation or time off from jobs to get to appointments. But also, scepticism about the shots continues to be pronounced in Black and Latino communities, depressing sign-up rates.

Early vaccination data is incomplete, but it points to the divide. In the first weeks of the rollout, 12 per cent of people inoculated in Philadelphia have been Black, in a city whose population is 44 per cent Black.

In Miami-Dade County, just about 7 per cent of the vaccine recipients have been Black, even though Black residents comprise nearly 17 per cent of the population and are dying from COVID-19 at a rate that is more than 60 per cent higher than that of white people.

In data released last weekend for New York City, white people had received nearly half of the doses, while Black and Latino residents were starkly underrepresented based on their share of the population.

We want people regardless of their race and geography to be vaccinated, but I think the priority should be getting it to the people who are contracting COVID at the highest rates and dying from it,” said Kenyan McDuffie, a member of the City Council whose district is two-thirds Black and Latino.

Alarmed, many cities are trying to rectify inequities. Baltimore will offer the shot in housing complexes for the elderly, going door-to-door.

Officials in Wake County, North Carolina are first attempting to reach people 75 and older who live in nine postcodes that have had the highest rates of COVID.

Fixing the problem is tricky, however. Officials fear that singling out neighbourhoods for priority access could invite lawsuits alleging race preference. To a large extent, the ability of localities to address inequities depends on how much control they have over their own vaccine allocations and whether their political leadership aligns with that of supervising county or state authorities.

The New York Times

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Australia continues to set record vaccination rates – 16 News

Australian families have clearly demonstrated that we are a vaccination nation, with childhood immunisation rates reaching record levels in December 2020.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, parents followed expert health advice and continued to take their children to receive their shots, pushing five-year old vaccination rates beyond the aspirational target of 95 per cent coverage.

Australia’s immunisation rates are world leading. In fact the December Quarter of 2020 took Australia’s coverage rate for five year old children to 95.09 per cent which exceeds the estimated World Health Organisation international average immunisation coverage rate of 86 per cent.

Reaching our target of 95% supports herd immunity to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.

These figures show Australians have both the capacity and the will to lead the world in taking up COVID-19 vaccines, as they recognise how important vaccination is, and how it protects and saves lives.

It also shows the faith that Australians have in our independent medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, to provide expert advice and ensure the safety and efficacy of all vaccines provided to the community.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at five-years old have the highest rates of immunisation in the country at 97.25 per cent. This is an incredible result and shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are taking their children to have their shots on time and keeping up to date with the recommended vaccination schedule.

The Australian Government invests more than $400 million each year in the National Immunisation Program.

The national immunisation coverage rate for all one-year olds has grown to 94.85 per cent and among two-year olds is 92.55 per cent.

While not as high as the five-year old rate, the results for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander two-year olds and one-year olds continue to climb, reaching 91.43 per cent and 93.79 per cent respectively.

The importance of vaccination is not lost on Australians, the vast majority of families ensure their children are fully immunised against a range of dangerous, but preventable diseases.

Immunisation providers have maintained their routine immunisation services throughout the pandemic and are ensuring on-time vaccination according to the recommended schedules.

Australia’s seasonal influenza vaccination program continues to provide increasing numbers of vaccines to Australians of all ages, in 2020 the Therapeutic Goods Administration released more than 17.6 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines for the Australian market – this includes those for the National Immunisation Program and the private market.

 September 2020December 2020
General one-year-old94.7294.85
General two-year-old92.3692.55
General five-year-old94.9095.09
Indigenous one-year-old93.4693.79
Indigenous two-year-old91.1691.43
Indigenous five-year-old97.0397.25

Thank you for seeing this story regarding New South Wales news called “Australia continues to set record vaccination rates – 16 News”. This article was posted by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our Australian news services.

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