News State QLD News Qld may drop COVID zero when 80 per cent are vaccinated

Qld may drop COVID zero when 80 per cent are vaccinated

Dr Jeanette Young
Dr Young says when Qld's vaccination rate hits 80 per cent, 'we will have a disease we can manage'. Photo: AAP
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Queensland is likely to reopen to the rest of Australia and stop trying to eradicate COVID-19 when its vaccination rates hit 80 per cent.

The state recorded two new overseas-acquired cases in hotel quarantine after 11,162 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Saturday.

Apart from a new non-infectious historic case on Friday, Queensland has recorded one new active local case in the last eight days.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says while the virus is under control within her state, with 1275 people in home quarantine, she’s still concerned about spread from NSW.

“So excellent news for Queensland no locally acquired cases, and I know everyone wants to keep it like that,” she told reporters on Saturday.

“So we need to be really careful as we go forward for the next week as we tighten up our border with NSW, where unfortunately we are seeing more and more cases every single day, and we are seeing those cases moving closer and closer to Queensland.”

Queensland delivered 19,273 vaccine doses with 45.24 per cent of the eligible population now having had their first dose and 26.8 per cent fully vaccinated.

Dr Young said her state is likely to reopen to the rest of Australia when 80 per cent vaccination is reached, even if outbreaks are raging in other states.

“At that 80 per cent point, we probably will, but we just have to see what happens and see what the outcomes are at that point in time,” she said.

She said the Doherty Institute’s modelling shows 80 per cent is the target needed to protect Queensland’s health care system from being overwhelmed.

Dr Young also indicated she would no longer try to eradicate COVID-19 in Queensland after the vaccination target is hit.

“Once we open up we won’t have zero cases, of course we won’t, we’ll have a disease that we can manage,” she said.

“The problem is, while we’ve got such low vaccination rates and they’re getting better and better, but they’re still low, we can’t afford to open up because we know as other countries have seen that we would rapidly get overrun with cases that we wouldn’t be able to treat.”

Dr Young urged people to go and get the jab to help slow any potential outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

“So if you’re 16 years of age or older, it is absolutely critical that you get vaccinated,” she said.

“We will not be able to hold back, community spread of COVID in our state, if we aren’t vaccinated.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said police had reported smooth traffic at NSW border checkpoints with only certain vaccinated essential workers exempt to cross from Saturday.

She said any exempt workers complaining about needing to get vaccinated need to make their own call on whether or not they want to cross.

“You have to decide: is my job essential enough to go get a vaccine? And if it is, go get one, immediately, and then you will be able to cross,” Ms D’Ath said.

She also took a swipe at anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protesters set to demonstrate in Brisbane later on Saturday.

The health minister said they should be either staying at home, or getting vaccinated if they want to go back to enjoying normal things in life like hugging family or going to the footy.

“That’s your choice, but it’s not a smart choice not to get vaccinated,” Ms D’Ath said.