Scenic Rim behind on vax numbers as COVID numbers set to rise

ABBED: Shirley Polgrain gets her COVID vaccine from nurses Bernadette Perry and Jo Gittins. Photo: Larraine Sathicq
ABBED: Shirley Polgrain gets her COVID vaccine from nurses Bernadette Perry and Jo Gittins. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

AS the Queensland government signaled an intention to relax state border restrictions in time for Christmas, Scenic Rim residents are still lagging behind most other areas in terms of COVID vaccination.

With the Queensland vaccination status hitting 70 per cent, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said fully vaccinated travellers coming into Queensland would now be able to quarantine at home.

They would also have to provide proof of a negative result to a TGA approved COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival.

"The more Queenslanders vaccinated, the safer we'll be," the Premier said.

"People want to be reunited with their family and friends."

Queensland's Vaccination Plan identifies fewer border restrictions as the state reaches 70 and 80 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated.

As of October 17 only 51.3 per cent of Scenic Rim residents were fully vaccinated and 69.3 per cent had received their first dose of the COVID vaccine, despite a walk-in vaccination hub in Beaudesert.

Dr Michael Rice from Beaudesert Medical Centre said it was inevitable the borders would reopen.

"We can't stay in our own little island within a bigger island," he said.

"When the borders open COVID will spread in Queensland.

"This Delta strain is hitting the unvaccinated hard, some will be sick in hospital, some will stay unwell for many weeks or months and certainly some will die.

"The best protection you have is to get vaccinated. The COVID vaccine won't stop you from getting the virus but it significantly reduces the number of people who become seriously ill as a result."

Those who are fully vaccinated are 86 per cent less likely to contract COVID and pass it on to a loved one.

The chance of dying from COVID falls by 90 per cent if you are fully vaccinated.

"We cannot protect you if you won't protect yourself," the Premier said.

"We want families and friends re-united for Christmas.

"If you are yet to be vaccinated you are running out of time."

Dr Rice agreed that there was a time limit to being prepared for the virus and very few valid erasons for medical exemption.

"It takes time to get two shots and it takes time for immunity to build after the second shot," he said.

"Very few people are unable to be fully vaccinated, mostly they are people who have a serious allergic reaction to the first shot or people who have had recent COVID."

The government said once 80 per cent of Queenslanders were vaccinated restrictions would still apply to those who remained unvaccinated without having a valid medical exemption.

Venues and events which allow unvaccinated patrons or staff could find themselves subject to ongoing health directions.

The Club Beaudesert chief executive Sharon Cullen said enforcing a no jab, no entry policy would be problematic.

"If the government introduces legislation stopping unvaccinated people coming into the club then of course we would comply," she said.

"Most of our members have already had the jab anyway but I can't see how we could go down that road to make them do it.

"There would also be a staffing issue, we would have to have security staff on 24/7 and that's not cheap.

"It's just more money we would have to pay out after all the COVID impacts we've already been through with having to shut down, reopening and then closing again with lockdowns."

Beaudesert's senior police officer Ken Murray said most people had got the message about following health directives.

"Masks are still required and it's good to see everyone still wearing them," he said.

"They can be uncomfortable but please if you're in a local business and they ask you to put your mask on, be courteous and polite. They are just trying to do the right thing.

"As we head towards the borders reopening please get vaccinated so we can all get back to a more open environment and make sure you have your details updated with your vaccination status, especially if you are crossing the border back into Queensland."

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