This week, as some Kiwis marked a drop to level 3 with takeaways, millions of our near neighbours were digesting a message some would find harder to swallow.
Residents of Australian states New South Wales and Victoria were essentially told they are under a vaccine ticking clock by their political leaders.
Despite an out-of-control Delta outbreak in Sydney, with more than 1000 new cases each day and rising; as well as rising Covid-19 cases in Melbourne, premiers Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews are focused on reaching vaccination targets this month and pushing towards reopening.
"I want to remind everybody that September is the month when we're asking everybody to get ready," Berejiklian said.
"Make sure you are vaccinated so we can get back to life at 70 per cent double-dose vaccination, which we anticipate will happen somewhere around the middle of October."
The aims, Berejiklian said, were "having our citizens enjoy international travel" and "welcoming thousands of Australians home who have been waiting to come home for a long time".
She added: "It's impossible to eliminate the Delta strain."
In Melbourne, Andrews admitted defeat on his zero-Covid approach, saying, "we will not see these case numbers go down".
The goal is to keep restrictions in place while the rollout continues. Once 70 per cent of Victorians have had one vaccine jab, expected by later this month, there would be a slight easing of rules.
Australia's federal Government wants states and territories to lift restrictions once they reach targets of 70 and then 80 per cent of people aged over 16 receiving two doses. West Australia, South Australia and Queensland are still holding to a stringent line.
The Australian Medical Association said the health system won't be able to cope.
These latest developments, and some in our own lockdown battle, can't help but raise questions about how well New Zealand can make the shift to a form of reopening next year.
New Zealand's health system and test and tracing effort have been under huge pressure during an outbreak sparked by a single case of Delta leaked through the border.
On Thursday, there were 42 Covid patients in hospital, with six in intensive care. Extra specialist care nurses were being scrambled to Auckland while some patients were being transferred to hospitals in other regions.
Lockdown is required to regain control over Covid while vaccination continues. Then a more complex stage of the pandemic is reached.
Would New Zealand be able to cope with higher levels of the virus circulating in the community at even a low level of reopening? Will the border and MIQ rules be revamped in such a way that they can keep overall transmission down? Will greater use of mandatory requirements for essential jobs be needed? How much work is going to go into improving ventilation systems in schools and stores? And do members of the public have sufficient information to adequately protect themselves when there is a greater threat of infection?
People are aware that getting the vaccine is the best form of protection they can get. It's aimed at preventing Covid hospital admissions and deaths and the evidence says it is effective at doing so. "Breakthrough" infections in vaccinated people are rare and tend to be mild. It also reduces the chances of getting long-Covid.
An Israeli study suggests the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is also able to reduce basic infectiousness and booster shots can increase that protection. New trials are under way to find pills to lower Covid viral loads.
Under the scenario of a less restricted border, medical aids will be the most important - but not the only - layer of defence required. Hopefully regular use of home saliva tests will become another one. Mask-wearing at the types of places featured as "locations of interest" in the current outbreak will be another.
Even if only fully vaccinated people are allowed to travel on holidays overseas or to come into the country without quarantine, some infections will inevitably get through. New variants and viruses will remain a problem. The existing MIQ system has been proven to be leaky.
There will be a percentage of unvaccinated people vulnerable to the virus in the community. People with weaker immune systems will be at greater risk. Long-Covid will still be a potential problem anyone could get.
So we need to start practising good Covid habits - such as wearing good quality masks, keeping a distance, hand hygiene, contactless transactions, socialising outside rather than indoors - for when it will really count.
None of that chimes well with the casual, she'll be right, Kiwi attitude. And the fact most of us escaped the emotionally exhausting Covid experiences common overseas probably puts us at a disadvantage.
New Zealand still has time, and options, to sort through these issues.