Australia Roger Cook flags announcements on opening up WA before 80 per cent vaccine hurdle reached

11:25  23 october  2021
11:25  23 october  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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The WA Health Minister says “ announcements ” will be made about the government’s plan to open the state before Western Australia reaches the crucial milestone of having 80 percent of its population aged 16 and over fully vaccinated . Key points: Health Minister Roger Cook says Western Australia has Cook said the state government would make more “strong predictions” about the next transition steps along the state’s COVID-19 roadmap once that milestone is reached , which is expected to be in mid-December. Earlier, Prime Minister Mark McGowan said that would not set a date for the opening

WA is on track for an 80 per cent vaccination rate by December, but when the hard border will crumble and how life with COVID will look is still very murky, writes Rhiannon Shine. "Currently Western Australia requires anyone from a 'high' or 'extreme' risk jurisdiction to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine , as part of the G2G Pass approval system." It followed an announcement yesterday that the WA government would mandate the vaccine for 75 per cent of the state's workforce.

The WA Health Minister says "announcements" about the government's plan to open up the state will be made before Western Australia reaches the crucial milestone of having 80 per cent of its population aged 16 and over fully vaccinated.

Mr Cook said the state government would make more "solid predictions" about the next transitional steps along the state's COVID-19 roadmap once that milestone was reached, which is expected to be in mid-December.

Previously, Premier Mark McGowan said he would not set a date for opening the state's border until Western Australia had reached the 80 per cent target.

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Covid-19 vaccinations will be compulsory for three-quarters of Western Australian workers including teachers and supermarket staff by the end of the year. Premier Mark McGowan on Wednesday said the drastic step was necessary to prepare the state for community transmission of the virus. Mr McGowan refused to follow suit, saying WA was on track to reach 80 per cent vaccination in December at which point further certainty would be provided. He has previously indicated there would be at least a two-month lag between WA hitting an undefined mark between 80 and 90 per cent

The state has passed the hurdle hours before it is due to leave lockdown at 11.59pm, and a day after Australia as a whole met the milestone. By Australia reaching 70 per cent yesterday, the country could move into phase B of the national plan. "It allows us to really consider what else we can be You can make a vaccination booking here. Australians aged 60 and over are now able to book both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from GPs and pharmacies across the country. Here are the latest state and territory breakdowns according to the Australian Government. The numbers are for eligible adults as

"We'll be making commentary, comments and announcements in the lead-up to that 80 per cent mark," Mr Cook said.

"When we have a much better idea of those timelines, and how we're stepping through them, we'll have more to say."

Western Australia has reached another vaccination milestone, with more than 60 per cent of the state's population aged 16 years and over now double vaccinated against COVID-19.

Mr Cook said it was great to see the vaccination rate in Western Australia had doubled in the past two months and he expected Western Australians aged 12 and over would reach the 60 per cent double-dose figure "in the coming days".

"We're making great progress. We're level-pegged, slightly ahead of Queensland, level-pegged with South Australia and the Northern Territory," he said.

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The reopening came days after Victoria reached a 70 per cent full vaccination rate among residents aged 16 and over, a major milestone on the nationally-agreed reopening plan. Speaking to “Today”, Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox said Melbourne business owners were being impacted by “inconsistencies all over the place.” The next phase of the reopening plan, set to arrive in early November when Victoria surpasses an 80 per cent vaccination rate, ought to arrive with more clarity, Willox added.

Daniel Andrews has admitted that borders will 'not necessarily' open when the state hits 70 per cent to 80 per cent vaccination after announcing that the lockdown will be extended. At the Sunday Covid update, a reporter asked Mr Andrews if the border would reopen when Victoria reaches the vaccination targets. 'Not necessarily,' the Premier replied, adding that while the national plan could be backed up by modelling it would depend on 'what was happening at that time'.

"So, enough about the language of us being the laggards.

"We're doing great work in Western Australia and now we need to continue to do more."

'Tough decisions' required

New vaccine requirements were announced earlier this week, with Premier Mark McGowan mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for about 75 per cent of the state's workers.

While the decision did garner broad support, it also attracted some backlash, in the form of protests and threats against the Premier, which Mr Cook deemed "despicable" and "disgusting".

[Chart: WA coronavirus cases]

However, the Health Minister remained firm on Western Australia's vaccine mandate, warning that waiting to get vaccinated when the Delta strain eventually entered the state would be too late and put unvaccinated individuals in a vulnerable position.

"I know these decisions are challenging. They're tough decisions, but that's what we require at this point in time," he said.

"The strong leadership provided by the Premier in mandating the cohorts that we have is about protecting Western Australians.

"I'm sorry if that disagrees with some people … we have to understand that the only way we can protect Western Australians is by getting high vaccination rates."

[Zendesk COVID form embed]

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