Queenslanders have been promised a new era of choice when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines as a long-awaited surge in supplies begins.
The state reported one new local case of the virus on Friday linked to Brisbane’s Sunnybank cluster but it poses no risk as the person was in home quarantine.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has urged Queenslanders aged 12 and over to make the most of a state-wide vaccination blitz this weekend, with 38 community hubs opening for walk-in jabs of the Pfizer vaccine.
Almost half the doses needed to vaccinate eligible Queenslanders have now been administered, with 4.125 million jabs given since vaccinations began seven months ago.
With long-awaited supplies from the Commonwealth starting to ramp up, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young hopes the second half will be administered in a fraction of that time.
“It’s taken us since the 22nd of February, when we did the first vaccination of a nurse on the Gold Coast, to get half of the doses out the door. The aim is over the next month or two to get the rest out,” Dr Young said on Friday.
Ms D’Ath told Queenslanders they would soon be able to choose from three vaccines, regardless of age.
“GPs and community pharmacies have been delivering AstraZeneca, Queensland Health has been delivering Pfizer. Now we’re all starting to move into the same space,” she said.
From next week the Moderna vaccine will also be in the mix at community pharmacies, and Queensland Health is waiting to hear if the Commonwealth will also supply it with that vaccine.
“There’s going to be lots of choices out there for people,” the minister said. “It’s about time everyone gets the choice of different vaccines that are available to them.”
The vaccination blitz comes amid concerns there could be more ‘Freedom’ protests along the Queensland-NSW border this weekend.
Police are aware of proposed protest activity in various locations across Queensland and have warned anyone planning to attend must abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
“Police … will not tolerate unlawful behaviour which poses a risk to the safety of individuals or impedes services provided by businesses and transport networks,” the service warned on Friday.
Officers are checking thousands of vehicles every day to ensure people from a limited number of local government areas in NSW are only entering Queensland for essential purposes approved under border-bubble travel arrangements.
But they could not stop one interstate truck driver, who used his prime mover to ram his way through a border checkpoint in the Queensland town of Texas.
The driver had earlier been denied permission to enter the state at Goondiwindi for failing to have evidence of a negative COVID-19 test. He is now facing charges including wilful damage and entering Queensland in beach of a health order.
Meanwhile, Queensland will reinstate border restrictions with the northern NSW local government area of Glen Innes Severn from 1am on Saturday after a COVID-19 case was detected there.
The area is now in lockdown alongside Lismore, which also had border restrictions reimposed by Queensland after a case there.
Queensland Health delivered more than 25,000 vaccines on Thursday with 58.17 per cent of eligible Queenslanders having had one dose of a vaccine, and 39.95 per cent now fully vaccinated.Internet Explorer Channel Network