Queensland has a new Chief Health Officer from today and we’re being warned to get our booster shots and prepare for Covid to spread.
Infectious diseases expert and Gold Coaster John Gerrard is stepping into the role almost two years after treating one of the first Covid cases here on the Gold Coast.
Ahead of his first briefing as the state’s top doctor, Doctor John Gerrard told myGC that Covid-19 is a disaster but the time for preparing is over.
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“We can’ stay closed for ever. We’ve been preparing for this pandemic for just under two years,” Dr Gerrard says as the Queensland border reopens.
“We will not let anyone go untreated in our hospitals, but I’m not going to lie to you – it will put a strain on our hospitals.
“It wont be easy, this is a once in a hundred year pandemic – it’s a disaster.
“You can prepare for a cyclone as much as you like but it’s still a cyclone.
“We’ve been planning for more than two years and we’re as ready as we can ever be,” Doctor Gerrard said.
The Gold Coast has already seen a few community cases pop up over the last few days and we’re being told they’re not going away.
Doctor John Gerrard is urging everyone to get vaccinated if they aren’t already and to get their booster shots as soon as they’re eligible.
“What is critical is that every Gold Coaster gets vaccinated. It’s very important right now because we are going to see the virus spread.
“And if it’s been more than five months since you’re second dose, you should have your third dose booster.
“That third dose really increases your antibodies in your blood and protects you better.
“The vaccine is very effective,” Doctor John Gerrard said.
Unfortunately, it seems that we’re not nearly done with the virus. Despite a good two years of keeping the virus at bay so that everyone can get vaccinated, we’re now being warned that case numbers will begin increase over summer and get even worse next winter.
“For the average Queenslander in the coming months life will return gradually to normal,” Dr Gerrard said.
“The winter period is our greatest concern because we know this is a seasonal virus.
“The general feeling is that the number of cases may accelerate as the temperatures cool.
“So our timing is very good, getting the 80 percent vaccinate rate now as we go into summer means the virus is less likely to spread – it will still spread but wont spread as quickly as it would in the cooler months,” he said.
Doctor Gerrard steps into the new role just as Queensland reopens it’s borders to New South Wales and Victoria, after 141 days of border closures.
He says there’s no plans to ever close it again.
“There’s certainly no plan to do anything like that at present, it’s not on the cards at present.
“It’s not something that’s being planned for. It’s not even being discussed,” Dr Gerrard said.
Related article: Queensland is open after a long 141 days of border closures