No Christmas cheer for unvaccinated

20 Oct 2021

Vaccinated people enjoying themselves


Queenslanders who don’t receive their first COVID vaccination by the end of October are likely to be banned from dining in restaurants or visiting a pub for a little pre-Christmas cheer.

With three weeks required between Pfizer shots and at least four weeks recommended between Moderna shots, AMA Queensland has warned those who don’t receive their first jab by the end of October won’t have enough time to receive the second shot to enjoy the December 17 freedoms for the double vaccinated.

AMA Queensland President Professor Chris Perry said with the State Government announcing its timeline to freedom and borders reopening it was now up to Queenslanders to do their bit.

“Get vaccinated, I can’t put it any more simply than that,” Prof Perry said.

“Take part in the State Government’s week-long Vax-a-thon, visit your GP, go to a walk-in clinic, do whatever you need to do to get vaccinated. This is not just about getting out and about over Christmas. People who are fully vaccinated are 86 per cent less likely to contract COVID and pass it on to someone else.

“Your chance of dying from COVID also drops by 90 per cent when you are vaccinated so if you are planning on being vaccinated, don’t wait, now is the time to do it.

“It takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to reach its full efficacy, so if you want to enjoy the freedom to get out and about over Christmas and be protected, make an appointment now.”

AMA Queensland has also called for vaccinations to be made mandatory for all workers in health care facilities, not just Queensland Health hospitals and at public health sites.

AMA Queensland Council of General Practice Chair Dr Maria Boulton said vaccination was mandatory for workers in hospitals but not in GP clinics or other private practices.

While the vast majority of doctors, specialists, nurses and health administration staff in private practice are vaccinated, Dr Boulton said it was essential to have clear industrial laws and health orders to provide clarity and certainty for employers and employees.

“All health facilities need a public health order backing the mandate to vaccinate staff so everyone is safe whether they are at work or receiving treatment,” Dr Boulton said.

Dr Boulton added that high vaccination rates would ensure fewer people died from COVID, but it was still important for the State Government to work with primary care providers now to develop the right models of care for future COVID patients.

“We need to keep hospital beds freed up for the most critical patients,” Dr Boulton said.

“Other states have introduced Hospital in the Home programs which allow GPs to do telehealth consultations with COVID patients who would otherwise be taking up hospital beds.

“We are calling on the State Government to start preparing for that now, it is not something which can be switched on overnight.

“We need accreditations and plans sorted before we are in crisis and overrun with COVID positive patients. GPs need to be able to access appropriate support and resources to care for COVID positive patients.

“This includes ensuring there is sufficient personal protective equipment, and that GPs have the correct legal indemnity.

“We don’t want GPs caught up in another cycle of state and federal health funding confusion and turf war so we have to use this time to have all our processes and systems in place so we can care for patients and cope with any potential COVID surge,” said Dr Boulton.

Published: 20 Oct 2021