Queensland has reached an 80 per cent COVID-19 vaccination milestone, more than a week ahead of schedule.
The target — for Queenslanders over 16 having had two doses — was deemed to be the trigger for Queensland to relax border restrictions.
Earlier this week, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was clear the state would pass the 80 per cent mark this week and announced the state would be the reopening at 1:00am Monday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison broke the news of the vaccine milestone on Twitter this morning.
Ms Palaszczuk confirmed it soon after.
“Very few places in the world have got to this level of protection before a COVID-19 wave arrives,” Ms Palaszczuk tweeted.
The exact vaccination rate is expected to be publicly released later today.
No new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the state, however Deputy Premier Steven Miles said it could be one of our last “double donut days”.
“From next week we should expect to start seeing COVID cases and we should have confidence that our high vaccine rate, as well as our ongoing public health measures, will keep people safe and ensure that our hospitals will treat people who get COVID,” he said.
Although today’s vaccine milestone represented an average for Queensland, some regions were still lagging.
“It’s a little bit patchy across the state,” he said.
Mr Miles held the morning COVID media conference in Hamilton in Brisbane’s inner-north, where construction has started on a facility that will manufacture up to 300 million needle-free vaccine patches a year.
It will take about a year for the facility to be built.
“It will be easier to transport, it will be able to deliver a wide variety of vaccines without the level of skill currently required to deliver the syringe vaccines,” Mr Miles said.
“Next time we need to vaccinate our whole population really quickly, we can vaccinate them using a platform, a technology developed … and manufactured here in Queensland.”
No ‘Freedom Day’
Mater Health Services director of infectious diseases Paul Griffin said although interstate borders were about to reopen, Queenslanders should not view it as “Freedom Day”.
On July 19, the British Government lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions, triggering “Freedom Day” parties across the country, with revellers celebrating at reopened nightclubs.
Dr Griffin said Queensland was not about to “abandon all of our restrictions and essentially try to pretend we’re through COVID”.
“We’re still going to ask positive cases to isolate until they’re well and not infectious, thereby reducing the prospects for their transmission.”
Dr Griffin, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, did not expect “a huge spike in cases immediately” once borders reopen.
“I think it will trickle in,” he said.
“We’re one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, one of the most recently vaccinated countries in the world. We’re opening up at a higher rate than most others and we are going to continue those other strategies.
“We should all be optimistic for reasonable levels of control.
“The main thing is not to be complacent and it would still be great if we could get our double vaccination rate to the 90s like the ACT, Victoria and NSW have.”