News Queensland Queensland hits 80 per cent fully vaccinated
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Queensland hits 80 per cent fully vaccinated

Qld covid-19
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is urging Queenslanders to get their booster shots as cases rise. Photo: AAP
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Queensland has hit 80 per cent fully vaccinated, joining South Australia and Tasmania as one of the first jurisdictions in the world to hit the milestone without an active COVID-19 outbreak.

The state was closing in on its target earlier this week with 79.6 per cent of Queenslanders aged over 16 fully vaccinated and 87.7 per cent having had one dose by Tuesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed on Thursday that both Queensland and the Northern Territory reached the 80 per cent milestone on Wednesday.

“Well done to Queensland and the NT! Confirming you’ve officially hit 80 per cent double dose vaccination, the target in our National Plan,” he tweeted on Thursday morning.

“Thank you to everyone who got their jab.

“Please get your booster if you’re due and help Australia continue to safely reopen and stay safely open.”

Queensland hit the milestone five days before it reopens its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from domestic virus hotspots who test negative.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was great achievement to reach 80 per cent without an active COVID-19 outbreak.

“This is a great day for Queensland,” she told AAP in the statement.

“Very few places in the world have got to this level of protection BEFORE a COVID wave arrives.

“The credit for this belongs to each and every Queenslander.

“But we can’t stop here: let’s get to 90 per cent and beyond. Please, get vaccinated.”

Despite hitting the milestone there is still concern about vaccine hesitancy among a significant portion of the state’s population under the age of 40.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said on Wednesday that almost 95 per cent of people over 70 were fully vaccinated, and for the 50-plus age group the figure is almost 90 per cent.

“It really is our 20- to 39-year-olds where we have a larger proportion who are still not vaccinated for one dose,” Ms D’Ath said.

The state hit the target on the same day the government announced the state’s first case of Omicron, as well as a case of a completely new lineage of an Omicron-like variant in an overseas traveller in hotel quarantine.

Deputy Chief Halth Officer Peter Aitken said the new lineage doesn’t have the S gene dropout as has been named Omicron-like by the World Health Organisation.

“It’s going to lead to improvements in people recognising the potential spread of Omicron in all communities, so that’s a great national contribution,” he said on Wednesday.

Omicron has about 30 different gene changes, while the new lineage has about 14.

“So it’s got enough to be able to classify it as Omicron, but we don’t know enough about it as to what that means as far as … clinical severity (and) vaccine effectiveness,” Dr Aitken said.

The arrival of the variant was a reminder the pandemic is not over as Queensland prepares to open its borders to interstate hot spots on Monday, Dr Aitken said.

“In many ways the COVID journey has just started,” he said.

– AAP