The Cairns Post

Slow rate could hit timeline for travel


QUEENSLAND’S vaccinatio­n rate is lagging so far behind the rest of the country, there are fears internatio­nal travel to the state could be affected for up to 12 months.

New figures from the state’s “Super Saturday” vaccinatio­n weekend revealed that 28,000 people received a vaccinatio­n.

However, only 11,574 of those were first doses, well behind the 30,284 needed every day between now and Friday in order to hit the 80 per cent full vaccinatio­n target on December 17, when interstate borders will reopen.

Analysis shows that on the current trajectory, the state will be only 77.47 per cent vaccinated by the 17th.

Based on current rates, Queensland will hit its 90 per cent target – when vaccinated inbound internatio­nal travellers can avoid any quarantine – in January.

But tourism heavyweigh­t Graham “Skroo” Turner was sceptical of hitting that target by then.

“Queensland may not get to 90 per cent for six to 12 months,” the Flight Centre boss said.

“Airlines like Qantas are not going to fly into Queensland without certainty, so it could be six to 12 months before Qantas comes back in Queensland flying overseas.”

Mr Turner said there were about 10,000-15,000 Queensland­ers overseas who were trying to get back home, but the last thing people wanted to do over Christmas was spend two weeks in quarantine.

“These are Queensland­ers who have the exact same status as someone coming from Melbourne or Sydney – they’re Queensland­ers, they’ve been doubly vaccinated, they’ve had a negative test, it is totally illogical,” Mr Turner said

He also said it might be time the government looked at mandating jabs for a larger section of the community.

“But if they have to do that, it is a worry,” he said. “In the end, these communitie­s have to accept that many of their vulnerable people could die if not vaccinated and it is, at least partly, their community leaders’ responsibi­lity.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia