Queensland Premier demands an apology from Health Minister

© Getty In recent weeks, Palaszczuk raised the issue of when children would be vaccinated and questioned how they would be affected by changes to border restrictions.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has demanded an apology from the federal health minister after she says she was “attacked relentlessly” for her comments about protecting children during the pandemic.

In recent weeks, Ms Palaszczuk raised the issue of when children would be vaccinated and questioned how they would be affected by changes to border restrictions.

“If you open up this state and you let the virus in here, every child under 12 is vulnerable – every single child,” she told Parliament this month.

“Every child from zero to 12 is vulnerable because they are the unvaccinated.

“Until I can get answers on that, we will stand firm and we will stand strong.”

At the time, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the national plan aimed to protect all Australians, including children, and no vaccinations had been approved for children under the age of 12.

While Queensland’s Indooroopilly Delta cluster infected dozens of people aged 19 or younger, with several Brisbane schools listed as exposure sites, studies found few children were hospitalised with COVID and most experience mild or no symptoms.

However, Ms Palaszczuk has since doubled down, demanding an apology from Mr Hunt after he asked Pfizer to seek approval to vaccinate children aged five to 11.

“A few weeks ago I raised the issue about this being the pandemic of the unvaccinated, I raised very clearly that there was an issue and we needed a plan for young children between the ages of five and 11 who weren’t vaccinated,” Ms Palaszczuk said, speaking from Toowoomba on Wednesday.

“I was loudly criticised from all sections of the media, I was attacked relentlessly by the federal government.

“I just want to say to Queenslanders that I will always protect you and do what I think is right but I will not be criticised for no reason.”

Treasurer Cameron Dick described the Premier’s comments a few weeks ago as “very sensible and reasonable”, and also called for an apology from Mr Hunt.

Queensland recorded one new local case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, while the state will open up more vaccination hubs for walk-in jabs.

Ms Palaszczuk said the new local case was linked to the Sunnybank cluster and was detected in home quarantine, so it was not of concern.

Following the recent “Super Pfizer weekend”, in which vaccination hubs opened the doors to walk-ins, Ms Palaszczuk said from Wednesday, people would be allowed to get a jab without an appointment at the Caboolture, Doomben, Kippa-Ring and Brisbane Entertainment Centre clinics.

She said other walk-in centres would be considered and another Pfizer weekend was planned.

Almost 61 per cent of eligible people have received one dose of a COVID vaccine, while more than 42 per cent had received two doses.

Queensland’s border bubble with NSW was further restricted from 1am on Wednesday after the Tweed and Byron council areas went into lockdown following Lismore and Glen Innes, just a short time after the bubble was reinstated.

A seven-day lockdowns in Byron, Tweed and Kempsey local government areas was sparked after a woman who worked for a production company filming I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! tested positive.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll warned any officers or staff members who refused to comply with the Queensland Police Service’s mandate to receive one COVID vaccination by October 4 – in fewer than two weeks – would be suspended from duty with pay from October 5.

In a memo sent to staff overnight, Ms Carroll said suspended employees would be issued with a notice to show cause and asked to explain within seven days why they should not be suspended without pay.

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