Queensland is set to have 90 per cent of its eligible residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by early next year, but authorities are yet to outline how they’ll deal with unvaccinated people.
Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Chelepy, who’s overseeing the state’s jab rollout, says Queensland will have 80 per cent of eligible residents fully vaccinated by December 17.
The state will scrap quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated domestic travellers who test negative when it hits 80 per cent, or by December 17 at the latest.
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It will then scrap quarantine for international arrivals when 90 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated, which Mr Chelepy expects will happen in “very early” 2022.
“NSW and Victoria, they’ll get to 90 per cent before us – but if you’re looking at NSW, they were in lockdown for eight weeks,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“So they really had an incentive to come out and get their freedoms back.
“We need people to get vaccinated to hold our freedoms, and we truly believe if we can continue to vaccinate now we’ll get to 90 per cent early next year.”
However, concern remains about what will happen to unvaccinated people and regions with low vaccination rates – particularly Indigenous communities – when state borders reopen.
Mr Chelepy said those regions would face potential lockdowns to protect the local health systems even after the 90 per cent full vaccination target.
Police Minister Mark Ryan wouldn’t say whether he supported ongoing restrictions for unvaccinated Queenslanders.
“What I support is everyone getting vaccinated, and if everyone is vaccinated you don’t need bans,” he said.
“But we’ll take advice from the chief health officer on that.”
Some people who have refused to get the jab, include about 100 of the Queensland Police Service’s 17,000 staff.
Mr Ryan said the “handful of people” worked across the organisation and the service would be able to cope.
“The Queensland Police Service is a massive organisation, it’s got over 17,000 staff, and I’ve got assurances from the commissioner that there are sufficient resources to ensure that the people of Queensland remain safe,” he said.
Mr Ryan said unvaccinated international travellers would still need to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine after the state hits 90 per cent fully jabbed.
He said many would be ordered to quarantine in the state-run facility being built at Wellcamp near Toowoomba.
“There will always be a requirement for unvaccinated people coming into Australia to have some sort of quarantine,” Mr Ryan said.
More than 76 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had one dose of a vaccine and almost 62 per cent are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Queensland recorded zero new local cases on Thursday with one new case recorded in hotel quarantine after 8395 tests.
© AAP 2021