HomeCovid-19 Qld: Fears for vulnerable tourist hot spots amid low vaccination rate

Covid-19 Qld: Fears for vulnerable tourist hot spots amid low vaccination rate

One state has doubled down on an opening date, with popular destinations urged to lift vaccine coverage before tourists flock in.

Queensland’s vaccine boss is concerned by the low jab rate in the state’s tourist hot spots where interstate travellers will flock to in a matter of weeks.

The rate of jabs in the southeast, particularly in Brisbane, is tracking well and residents will be protected in time when interstate travel is allowed from December 17.

As of Sunday, 77.6 per cent of Queenslanders had received their first dose and 63.9 per cent had been given both.

But Rockhampton and Mackay, with the famed Whitsundays on its doorstep, are lagging, according to Deputy Commissioner and the state’s vaccine co-ordinator Shane Chelepy.

“We did see an uplift in those areas over the last couple of weeks,” he told Sunrise on Monday morning.

“Mackay had a good uplift (but) those areas are still about 10 per cent behind the rest of the state — Rockhampton, Mackay, those areas that are where tourists will go to, we need people to get vaccinated.”

Queensland is expected to hit 80 per cent vaccine coverage in about mid-December, but Annastacia Palaszczuk has committed to opening the border to areas with high Covid-19 infections on December 17, the vaccine boss again confirmed.

“The Premier has been clear it is December 17 and she was clear if we get there before then, we will open up before then,” Mr Chelepy said.

“We have got to work harder and Queenslanders have got to get vaccinated this week.”

Mr Chelepy’s plea comes on Dr Jeannette Young’s final day in the role of chief health officer before being sworn in as governor.

In a final letter to the state, the now former top doctor delivered a last-ditch request to urge Queenslanders to get vaccinated.

“These two shots are as close as we’ll get to a silver bullet to this virus,” Dr Young said.

“Most, if not all, of us will get infected at some point.

“So I urge you – one last time as chief health officer – to get vaccinated if you have not already done so.”

Dr Young pleaded with those who were reluctant to “at the very least” see advice from a medical professional.

“Recently, I aired my wish to see at least 95 per cent of Queenslanders fully vaccinated,” she said.

“Granted, it’s a lofty goal, but if we can achieve that rate for childhood diseases, surely we can strive to do the same for a deadly virus that’s fuelling a global pandemic.”

Read related topics:Brisbane


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