Open letter to the Queensland community

19 Sep 2021

Important message


To all members of the Queensland community, from doctors:

You have all been amazing in the way you have reacted to the COVID-19 outbreak. Without your patience, your understanding, your preparedness to obey public health directives, and your desire to get vaccinated, Queensland would already be in the same situation as other states.

However, now we need you to do more. We need you to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Now that we have supply of Pfizer and AstraZeneca, it is time for all Queenslanders over the age of 12 to roll up their sleeves and get their jabs.

The Delta strain is coming, and our best defence is to keep it as controlled as possible. This is not a matter of if, it is when. The Lismore lockdown shows how this highly contagious virus is moving north.

We expect all Queenslanders to be exposed to COVID-19 in coming months.

Our health system is as prepared as possible, but even so, we know it will be challenged and may be overwhelmed.

How challenged we are will be directly influenced by the vaccination rate in Queenslanders.

We have a small window. Every single day that we manage to keep COVID suppressed and controlled in the community gives more than 30,000 Queenslanders the opportunity to be vaccinated.

The overwhelming majority of those who are vaccinated are likely to have no symptoms or to have only mild illness if infected with COVID-19.

Vaccinated people are much less likely to need to be admitted to hospital, or to pass this virus on to their family and loved ones, many of whom are vulnerable.

For those who are not vaccinated and contract COVID-19, one in five will feel very unwell. One in 10 will have to be admitted to hospital. How many of them end up in intensive care and on ventilation depends on vaccination rates.

Ventilation is not just keeping patients breathing. These patients are unconscious. They need tubes to feed them, catheters to evacuate their bladder and bowels, staff to turn them regularly so they don’t develop pressure sores. They might be there for as long as a month.

If they survive, they may have serious long-term complications. Those who don’t survive will most likely die without the support of their loved ones around them. 

All of AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have demonstrated the SAME level of protection against severe disease, including protection against hospital admission, the need for intensive care and death. If you have any concerns, please speak to your GP about which vaccine is right for you and your family.

When our next outbreak comes, our public health resources will be focussed on caring for COVID-19 patients. This leaves very little opportunity to manage the everyday health needs of Queenslanders. We fully understand what a burden this brings to our people and their loved ones. This will be very difficult for some communities to manage, and there are some Queenslanders who remain completely vulnerable until everyone is vaccinated.

This is about you as an individual, your families and loved ones, and your community.

We are learning about the extraordinary burden this brings from the experiences of our fellow interstate Australians. We are learning about the devastating illness that this can bring to pregnant women, and we are seeing children left without family support when both parents are in hospital.

To book in for a vaccine:

We understand that you have a choice. Please do not throw this opportunity away. There is an absolute urgency to being fully vaccinated.

We are pleading with you. We do not want you to wait. There is no time for delay.

Keep yourselves safe, keep your families safe, help us protect ourselves and our families as we continue to strive to care for you and yours. 


AMA Queensland President Professor Chris Perry

AMA Queensland Council of General Practice chair Dr Maria Boulton

Published: 19 Sep 2021