Complacency will kill those left behind

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OPINION by Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga\

Complacency could claim the lives of thousands of Central Queenslanders if our Covid vaccination rates don’t increase rapidly.

Our vaccination rates are still amongst the lowest in the state, and well below the levels needed for us to begin opening up Queensland to other states and overseas.

This could potentially force Central Queensland into lockdown even if the rest of the state starts to relax its laws and opens up.

Without being overdramatic, it is undoubtable that the pandemic will grow inside our CQ bubble, and it will seek out and hunt down every person who is not vaccinated.

We cannot afford to be complacent and we simply must make an effort to get vaccinated before we are left behind.

Ironically, it would seem our good state of health here in CQ is lulling many people into a false sense of Covid security.

These figures are way too low: Livingstone Shire Council: 62.2% one dose, 46.9% two doses out of a population of 30,952.

Rockhampton Regional Council: 62.1% one dose, 46.34% two doses out of a population 64,482.

Compare these with the national figures.

So far 32,653,925 vaccination doses have been given to Australians, with 84.8% of people aged 16 and over have had their first dose, and 68.3% of people aged 16 have had their second doze.

We are so far behind, it’s scary.

Having said that, I praise the public’s great response to vaccination hubs at Bunnings stores in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast on the weekend.

Some 264 people (146 Yeppoon and 118 Rockhampton) had their vaccination at those stores.

I visited the Rockhampton store to thank the staff from Bunnings and Queensland Health, and volunteers from Rotary and Legacy who were operating the famous Bunnings barbecues.

I was heartened by what I saw and it proved that the Palaszczuk Government’s plan to bring the vaccinations to the people works.

We had similar vax centres doing a similar job at the recent NRL game at Browne Park, again with terrific results.

This gives the power to the people to have a significant say in where and when Queensland is safest and where we can open up the state to the rest of Queensland., and the world.

People who are fully vaccinated are 86% less likely to catch Covid and pass it on.

Most important, if you are fully vaccinated your chance of dying from Covid-19 falls by 90%.

I am proud of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk latest Queensland’s Covid Vaccination Plan to unite families, protect Queenslanders and chart a course through the next stages of the pandemic.

Key features include greater freedoms for those who are fully vaccinated including being able to cross the border from interstate hotspots in time for Christmas.

This will be achieved in cautious and measured stages once 70% and 80% of eligible Queenslanders are double-dosed.

The Premier said how quickly these milestones are achieved depends on how quickly Queenslanders come forward to be vaccinated.

She would be very pleased with the result from Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast on the weekend.

It’s a fairly simple plan, but one that relies on us.

The more of us who are vaccinated, the sooner we are safely reunited with friends and family from interstate and overseas.

Every day in my office I hear from people who are stuck interstate waiting to come home, and we work very hard to get them here.

The best way we can all help bring these people home is to get double vaccinated asap.

The Premier’s latest plan has key milestones:

At 70% of Queensland’s eligible population fully vaccinated (expected on 19 November):

Anyone who has been in a declared domestic hotspot in the previous 14 days can travel into Queensland provided:

. They are fully vaccinated

. Arrive by air

. Have a negative Covid test in the previous 72 hours

. Undertake home quarantine for 14 days.

Direct international arrivals into Queensland will have to complete 14 days quarantine in Government-nominated facility.

International arrivals who arrive via another state or territory will have to quarantine in a government-nominated facility until 14 days have passed since they arrived in Australia.

At 80% of Queensland’s eligible population fully vaccinated (expected on 17 December):

. Travellers from an interstate hotspot can arrive by road or air

. They must be fully vaccinated

. They must have a negative COVID test in the previous 72 hours

. No quarantine required

Direct international arrivals can undertake 14 days (subject to review by AHPPC) home quarantine and subject to conditions set by Queensland Health provided they are:

Fully vaccinated

Have a negative COVID test in previous 72 hours.

Those who don’t meet these criteria will need to enter within Queensland’s international arrivals cap and quarantine in a government-nominated facility, just like now.

Those arriving via other states and territories won’t need to quarantine if they are:

. Fully vaccinated

. Have undertaken at least 14 days (subject to AHPPC review) of quarantine under the direction of another state or territory at home or in a government-. nominated facility.