Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young has claimed every single resident of the state is going to be infected with Covid-19.
During a news conference on Friday, Dr Young said: ‘We are all of us going to end up being infected with Covid, every single person in Queensland.’
‘But if you’ve been vaccinated it’s highly unlikely you will be sick, and definitely very unlikely that you will end up in hospital or the ICU.’
Dr Young shelters from the rain during Friday’s press conference at Stafford Bunnings in Brisbane. ‘We are all of us going to end up being infected with Covid, every single person in Queensland,’ she told reporters
Dr Young’s comments came after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk posted a Tweet on Wednesday in which she wrote: ‘We’ve done all we can to keep you safe but this next step is up to you.
‘We can’t protect you if you won’t protect yourself.’
The comments were interpreted as Ms Palaszczuk softening her stance on opening Queensland before Christmas.
She had earlier left it open that Queensland may not reopen at 80 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated due to uneven rates across the state.
‘The Delta strike will come here in Queensland,’ Ms Palaszczuk warned last week.
‘We need to get our vaccination rates up as high as possible before we have those outbreaks here.’
The announcement today by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet that his state will reopen to all travellers and dispense with hotel quarantine from November 1 will increase the pressure on Queensland to announce a definite plan as its peak tourism season approaches.
Dr Young’s comments today were backed up by Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath who held out the carrot of what sort of Christmas Queenslanders wanted.
‘The announcement today by NSW makes [vaccinaiton] even more critical,’ Ms D’Ath said.
‘If you get your vaccination today it is going to be five to six weeks before you are fully covered by that vaccine, and that’s why you can’t afford to wait.
‘Vaccination is the only way out of this. The virus will go into every single one of our towns. The question is, are you going to be protected?’
‘What sort of Christmas do you want to see?’
Dr Young’s comments in June about AstraZeneca had been blamed for vaccine hesitancy in Queensland
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath braves the rain in Brisbane. She indicated the government would release a road map for opening Queensland to other states within the next five to six weeks
Queensland is under pressure to announce when it will fully reopen to states such as NSW and Victoria
Queensland’s vaccination rate lags behind most other states and territories, with 71.35 per cent of eligible Queenslanders having received one dose of a Covid vaccine, and 54.77 per cent now fully vaccinated.
By contrast, NSW is expect to pass 80 per cent of its eligible population double dose vaccinated by this weekend.
Queensland reported zero cases of community transmission and one in hotel quarantine in the previous 24 hours. Another person, a truck driver from Victoria, had been notified he was positive but had been double vaccinated and was not considered a risk.
Dr Young’s comments echo those of Queensland’s AMA President Chris Perry, who yesterday urged the Queensland government to set a date for reopening the state in order to encourage residents to get vaccinated.
‘They have to open,” Dr Perry told ABC Radio Brisbane on Thursday morning.
‘We’re all going to get COVID, we have to keep our tourist industry going.
‘There’s a bit of lockdown fatigue, there’s a bit of vaccination fatigue. People, especially in the regions, are thinking: “She’ll be right mate, it’s not going to come here.” Well it is.’
Dr Young has been forced to repeatedly defend comments she made about the AstraZeneca vaccine at a press conference in June, which some commentators point to as creating vaccine hesitancy in Queensland.
‘I don’t want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who, if they got COVID, probably wouldn’t die.’
At the time, Dr Young had been asked whether people under 60 should wait for supplies of the Pfizer vaccine rather than be vaccinated with the more plentiful, locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine.
In September she defended her remarks saying she had been urging people to choose the right vaccine, not avoid vaccines.
‘I firmly believe that younger people – and I said 18-year-olds in that comment – should be getting Pfizer,’ she said.
‘I do not think they should be getting AstraZeneca. And we have plenty of Pfizer and they can come out and get Pfizer, or Moderna.’
Queensland’s vaccination rate lags behind most other states and territories, with 71.35 per cent of eligible Queenslanders having received one dose of a Covid vaccine, and 54.77 per cent now fully vaccinated
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath indicated the government would release a road map for opening Queensland to other states within the next five to six weeks. Pictured: A Brisbane resident cycles across the city’s famous Story Bridge
Dr Young said Queensland’s border settings will have to be reassessed now that NSW will allow quarantine-free international travel from November
Mrs D’Ath indicated the government would release a road map for opening Queensland to other states within the next five to six weeks.
Dr Perry said a date was needed to encourage the state’s vaccination laggards.
‘We’re asking the Premier to give us a definite date, 1st of December, 14th of December, Christmas Eve, something so that bookings can be made,’ he said.
‘And people can get off their backside and go and get their very, very safe vaccine so when they do get COVID, they’re not terribly sick, blocking up the health system and killing themselves or giving themselves long-term Covid.’
Dr Young said the state’s border settings will have to be reassessed if NSW allows quarantine-free international travel from November, but she didn’t have enough information about the plan yet.
‘There’s just been an enormous change this morning that I haven’t been able to get my head around,’ she said.
‘So I need to go and work out what that change means, and it’s not just a change that will impact on NSW, opening the borders to NSW then leads to a flow on to every other state.
‘So, I just have to recalibrate my thinking that I’ve been coming to over the last few weeks.’