Furious Queenslanders erupt after Annastacia Palaszczuk introduced a sweeping vaccine mandate for all workers at schools, childcare centres, prisons and airports

Compulsory jabs for workers at schools, childcare workers, prisons and airportsThese workers must have first jab by Dec 17 and be fully vaccinated by Jan 23 Reaction to the mandate reveals worry about people not coming to work Others think children are not at risk from Covid so the mandate is unnecessary Ms Palaszczuk said the decision was consistent with Victoria and NSW Plan to re-open Queensland 'not yet affected' by new Omicron variant 

Annastacia Palaszczuk has copped a huge backlash after announcing a sweeping Covid vaccine mandate for tens of thousands of workers in Queensland – mirroring similar outcries in other states. 

Ms Palaszczuk told Queensland parliament this morning that Covid vaccine jabs will be compulsory for all workers at state and private schools, child care centres, prisons and youth detention complexes and airports.  

Workers in those ‘high-risk settings’ will need to have received one dose of vaccine by December 17 and be fully vaccinated by January 23. 

The announcement brought Queensland into line with similar mandates in NSW and Victoria, but many Queenslanders are already up in arms about the directive.

The Independent Education Union, which represents staff in non-government schools, quickly issued a press release saying it is seeking discussions with employers on issues raised by the government directive, such as genuine medical exemptions, privacy protections, and support for employees who seek leave or redeployment as a result of the mandate. 

Covid vaccine jabs will be compulsory for all workers at state and private schools, child care centres, prisons and youth detention complexes and airports in Queensland

Covid vaccine jabs will be compulsory for all workers at state and private schools, child care centres, prisons and youth detention complexes and airports in Queensland

Online comments on Ms Palaszczuk’s Facebook post revealed many Queenslanders took issue with the premier’s reasoning that the school workers’ mandate was necessary to protect unvaccinated students.

‘Children are not vulnerable to Covid. This mandate is disgusting,’ wrote one woman, reflecting a common refrain. 

‘We’ve been managing to keep our kids safe quite well, thanks very much, without your damaging injections,’ another person posted.

Others thought the move was overdue, given similar mandates have existed in NSW and Victoria for the past couple of months. 

‘This is fantastic news!! Especially in special schools where there are so many high risk children,’ posted on mother.

Many people expressed concern at a likely shortage of staff in schools, childcare centres and youth detention facilities due to imposition of the mandate. 

‘We already have a shortage of staff in all those areas yet you go ahead and create a further shortage?’ one person said.  

‘Who is going to teach our children? Nurses are already struggling to support our health care system due to the mandatory vaccine, now our children will suffer because teachers won’t be able to teach and stood down indefinitely… chaos,’ stated another. 

Many people expressed concern at a likely shortage of staff in schools, childcare centres and youth detention facilities due to imposition of the mandate

Many people expressed concern at a likely shortage of staff in schools, childcare centres and youth detention facilities due to imposition of the mandate

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the sweeping Covid vaccine mandate for thousands of workers in the parliament on Tuesday morning

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the sweeping Covid vaccine mandate for thousands of workers in the parliament on Tuesday morning

‘While children cannot access the vaccination, it is important those around them take every step they can to prevent the virus spreading in schools and early childhood centres,’ Ms Palaszczuk said in announcing the new vaccine rules. 

‘Airports are the gateway to the virus entering Queensland and there are vulnerable people in our corrections systems.’ 

Ms Palaszczuk defended the move as ‘consistent with other states and territories such as New South Wales and Victoria’. 

Vaccine mandates in Victoria have sparked waves of protests. 

In October, weekly protests were held against the mandates announced by Dan Andrews who said all authorised workers would be required to get a Covid jab by October 15 with police, teachers and professional athletes needing their second dose by November 26.

Other workers required to get jabbed to stay in a job include cleaners, farmers, retail workers, personal trainers, spa workers.

A month earlier in September a series of protests were held after an announcement that construction workers were required to be vaccinated to keep their jobs.

The clashes were perhaps the most violent seen with protesters hurling projectiles, scores of arrests and lines of police in riot gear deploying pepper-spray. 

Workers in the designated high-risk settings will be required to have at least one vaccination dose by December 17 and be fully vaccinated by January 23, 2022

Workers in the designated high-risk settings will be required to have at least one vaccination dose by December 17 and be fully vaccinated by January 23, 2022

Ms Palaszczuk told the Queensland parliament on Tuesday morning that the state had reached 86.27 per cent of its eligible population with a first dose of a Covid vaccine and 76.08 per cent were now fully vaccinated.

The premier has previously said Queensland’s borders might open earlier than December 17 to air and road travellers once the state reaches 80 per cent of its population fully vaccinated.

It’s believed that mark could be reached as early as next week.  

Fully vaccinated interstate travellers will not be required to quarantine on entry to Queensland once the 80 per cent full vaccination rate is reached. 

The Premier said the plan to re-open Queensland’s borders to visitors by road and air on Dec 17 was not yet affected by news that the Omicron Covid variant had been detected in international arrivals to Sydney.

She planned to be briefed at a specially convened national cabinet meeting this afternoon. 

Queensland recorded no new cases of community transmission of Covid on Tuesday, but two cases were detected in hotel quarantine, both from Melbourne. 



Some of the backlash online to Annastacia Palaszczuk's vaccine mandate announcement (pictured)

Some of the backlash online to Annastacia Palaszczuk’s vaccine mandate announcement (pictured) 

The announcement on mandatory vaccinations workers in high-risk settings follows compulsory vaccination policies already in place for health workers, aged care workers and police in Queensland.

Ms Palaszczuk’s announcement sparked a torrent of comments on her Facebook page, many expressing confusion as to whether they would be included in the mandate.

‘Does this apply to volunteers (tuckshop, uniform shop etc)?’ one woman asked.

‘Can you please expand on airports. What airport departments come under this mandate? Is it every airport worker such as engineering etc or just workers who come in contact with the public?’ asked another person.

‘Where do children’s swim schools fall in this? Swim teachers are in direct contact with children all the time,’ posted another.

Others feared the decision will cause staff shortages at schools as those who did not wish to be vaccinated took leave or left the profession. 

Some people commenting on Ms Palaszczuk’s post wondered if parents would be required to be vaccinated to enter Queensland schools but the announcement relates only to those who ‘work’ at schools. 

This includes administration staff, maintenance workers, contractors, volunteers and students on placement at schools.

Both NSW and Victoria had already mandated Covid vaccinations for the same categories of worker as Queensland has now announced.

Ms Palaszczuk was also predictably attacked online by anti-vaccination activists, who accused her of ‘following an agenda, not the science’. 

‘Children are not at risk! Do not use my children as a scapegoat to vaccinate adults against their will. These mandates are wrong on so many levels,’ wrote one person. 

Ms Palaszczuk's announcement about mandatory vaccines has already been attacked online by anti-vaccination activists, who accused her of 'following an agenda, not the science'

Ms Palaszczuk’s announcement about mandatory vaccines has already been attacked online by anti-vaccination activists, who accused her of ‘following an agenda, not the science’

Police Minister Mark Ryan told the parliament that Surf Lifesaving Queensland had also decided that all volunteers and staff over 16 years of age will have to be fully vaccinated by March 2022.   

From December 17, unvaccinated people in Queensland will be banned from all state venues such as restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs, theatres, cinemas and sporting venues.  

Deputy Premier Steve Miles defended the state’s decision to build a purpose-built quarantine facility at Wellcamp, near Toowoomba, telling parliament it would ‘stand us in good stead’.

‘We will not be caught out as some other states now are,’ he boasted.

Yesterday Ms Palaszczuk also defended construction of the facility, which some critics had described as a ‘white elephant’.

‘We also knew that building dedicated quarantine facilities was a further important safeguard – that’s why we pressed ahead with Wellcamp,’ she said. 

‘I am a bit worried about how many people are in Australia at the moment that are not in hotel quarantine, so I would like some answers on that tomorrow [at national cabinet].’ 

Annastacia Palaszczuk said the plan to re-open Queensland's borders to visitors by road and air on Dec 17 was not yet affected by news that the Omicron Covid variant had been detected in international arrivals to Sydney. Pictured: Passengers arriving at Brisbane Airport

Annastacia Palaszczuk said the plan to re-open Queensland’s borders to visitors by road and air on Dec 17 was not yet affected by news that the Omicron Covid variant had been detected in international arrivals to Sydney. Pictured: Passengers arriving at Brisbane Airport

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