Why Qld’s vaccine milestone won’t help border

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday announced Queensland’s seventh straight day of zero new local cases, while there were four cases acquired in quarantine – three of which were sailors from the Panamanian vessel the Imabari Queen. She also announced the state had crossed the 70 per cent first-dose threshold after another 16,000 vaccines were administered over the past day.New vaccination clinics at 24 Bunnings warehouses across the state are expected to help that number climb further. But Ms Palaszczuk also told state parliament the state’s success remained “fragile” due to most of its population living outside the capital Brisbane, which has a higher vaccination rate. Queensland is ahead of only Western Australia and the Northern Territory in terms of the first-dose vaccination rate and is behind all but Western Australia in terms of double doses. “We are bigger than 90 per cent of the countries in the world, we are bigger than France, Spain and Germany,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “Most of our state has never seen a Covid case, but they will, in months and years to come. “We have stayed safe by listening to the health advice, so I’m urging everyone, everyone to listen to it now and get vaccinated. Do it today.”Queensland has so far refused to commit to a vaccination reopening target and its patchy regional vaccination rate means the 80 per cent double-vaccination figure flagged at national cabinet may not even be enough. Ms Palaszczuk has also flagged concerns over the vulnerability of children who are unable to be vaccinated and has asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a plan for the rollout of booster shots. But in a possible reopening clue, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath on Monday said it was the state’s mission to get jabbed “in the next five to six weeks” if it wants border restrictions to ease. That takes the state through to mid-November. The state’s health system is expected to feature heavily during the fourth-last sitting week of parliament for 2021, which kicked off on Tuesday.Elsewhere, Ms D’Ath on Tuesday announced 376 Queenslanders had been approved to come home this week as part of a new home quarantine trial that kicked off on Monday.

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