It’s just over a week ago that Queensland’s roadmap was announced. So with a clear timeline for opening and an inevitable influx of COVID-19 cases, has the vaccination rate improved?
- Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles says the rollout of the vaccine is going “gangbusters”, but admits many regional areas need to catch up
- An infectious disease expert says the state is still behind its target
- He says that now that vaccines are more readily available throughout the state, the government needs to work on their messages
Included in the roadmap is a goal of having 70 percent of Queenslanders over the age of 16 fully vaccinated by November 19th.
On that date, the state will open to people from hotspot areas, but they will be required to undergo a two-week home quarantine.
The requirement for home quarantine will be removed when 80 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are fully vaccinated or around 17 December.
The state government was hoping for a big boost to vaccine numbers over the weekend and opened pop-up clinics at 116 schools across the state.
Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles said on Sunday that the rollout of the vaccine would be “gangbusters”.
“The vaccination results over the weekend were amazing across the state,” he said.
Across the country, 74.05 percent of the eligible population has now received a first dose, while 60.41 percent have been fully vaccinated.
But Mr Miles said the Queensland region was still lagging behind other areas.
“We are concerned about regional variation, and in Mackay, about 67 percent of people have received their first dose, so [it is] a lot below the nationwide average, and less than 50 percent have received their second dose, “he said.
“It could get even lower in other nearby regions, as low as 45 percent with a first dose in Isaac and 64 percent with a first dose on Pentecost.”
But of the 28,994 vaccinations administered Saturday, Queensland Health said only 16,000 were first-line doses.
On Monday, the number of total doses rose to 35,564, of which 19,566 were first doses.
Since Dec. 17 was locked in for state reopening, there has been an increase in the first doses administered.
Some of the regions with the highest growth rates in vaccine uptake include areas targeted by the state government’s vaccine blitz trip.
Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday have seen an increase of 4.1 per cent in the first doses, and central Queensland has recorded a growth of 3.7 per cent.
However, infectious disease expert Paul Griffin said those numbers were not reason to celebrate.
“It is very clear that we are far from where we need to be. I think we really need to throw everything at this to make sure we get these rates up,” said Dr. Griffin.
“We are really in an enviable position where we have this opportunity, with very low case numbers, to get the vaccine rate all the way up so we can be as prepared as possible, and I fear that in some ways we are wasting this opportunity and taking not serious enough. “
He said that while Queenslanders who were being vaccinated should be congratulated, politicians should not shy away from explaining how far the state was from its goals.
“I think we need to make sure that we are honest here and that there is a real concern at the moment that with the rates where they are, we will have a significant part of the population that remains vulnerable. , and it will go on to make it such a bigger challenge than it needs to be, “he said.
In an effort to reach the vaccine targets, the state government has announced pop-up vaccine clinics in more than 20 Surf Life Saving clubs from Port Douglas to Coolangatta as well as in theme parks and zoos.
It is in addition to state-run vaccine centers, Bunnings stores, local pharmacies and general practitioners.
Dr. Griffin said that now that the state had ensured that all communities had access to the vaccine, it was time to work on messages.
“I think it’s also about communication to support it and make sure people really understand, especially the benefits of the vaccine for individuals and the population,” said Dr. Griffin.
He said it was important to ensure that there were tailor-made messages for different communities and the issues they had.
“I still hear a lot of similar questions about how we made this vaccine so quickly and how we know it is safe,” he said.
“So many people still say to me, ‘Oh, but that’s not stopping you from getting the infection’ or, ‘It’s not stopping you from passing it on,’ when we know it’s properties that the vaccine possesses.
“It may not be perfect or 100 percent for either of these two traits, but it goes to great lengths to reduce your chance of becoming infected and reduce your chance of passing it on.”
Loading form …