One state has revealed its latest incentive to help boost its lagging vaccination rate, and it includes free food and beers at the pub.
Unvaccinated Queenslanders will be get a free meal or a beer at clubs across the state when they roll up their sleeves to get their jab.
Community clubs will offer more than 7000 vouchers at dozens of venues in a bid to encourage the remaining unvaccinated Queenslanders to get their doses.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has committed to opening the state to Covid-19 hot spots from December 17 to ensure families are reunited ahead Christmas.
The vaccine rate is ticking along in the state’s southeast, in Brisbane and the wider metropolitan areas, but health authorities fear vaccine hesitancy in regional centres will leave many vulnerable when the borders are flung open and cases soar.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the vouchers would be available at 29 clubs across the state, including Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Toowoomba and Rockhampton, as well as Brisbane.
“If people weren’t convinced by the fact getting vaccinated could keep you out of hospital and save your life, they might be enticed by a $10 voucher that can be used at local clubs,” she said on Wednesday.
“It’s another reason to get vaccinated. Getting the jab means you’re 80 per cent less likely to get Covid and pass it on.
“It’s time to roll up your sleeve and get the jab, then roll up to your local club and have a feed.”
The vouchers will be available when recipients are given their first dose at selected vaccination hubs from Thursday.
About 65 per cent of Queenslanders have received both doses of the jab but the state’s vaccine boss said earlier in the week regional areas were about 10 per cent behind the cities in the southeast.
The lagging rate in the regions has sparked fears an influx of tourists to holiday hot spots over Christmas will be catastrophic for locals, 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.”
Ms D’Ath said the government could lock down specific areas when borders open if there is a spike in cases but not as a measure to protect communities with low vaccine rates.
She again implored Queenslanders to ensure they are protected when travel restrictions are eased.
“Restrictions will only be put in place where there is outbreaks occurring — they won’t be put in place as a preventive measure, they’ll be put in place where there’s outbreaks,” the Health Minister told reporters on Wednesday.
“But the virus will move through our community.
“As people start arriving by air and by road, we can expect that some of these people will carry the virus even though they would have tested negative before they travelled.
“We will have outbreaks happening across Queensland and that’s why we need to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.”