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With 93 per cent of Australians aged 12 and over having had two vaccine doses, whether or not to have a booster shot has become a new battle ground.
So far, just 45.7 per cent have had a third shot, despite many more being eligible, and it is causing disputes between the federal and state governments and academics.
Professor Robert Booy, an infectious diseases expert, said on Friday that he ‘wouldn’t mandate a third dose any more than the aged care workers and healthcare workers. That is enough.’
A couple are pictured having a drink on the seashore of St Kilda beach in Melbourne. Vaccination rules for venues vary from state to state
But though he was not advocating a mandate, he still thinks getting a booster shot is a wise thing to do.
‘I think vaccines sell themselves. I got my third dose because I wanted to protect myself and my family,’ Prof Booy told Channel Nine’s breakfast program.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government also only supported compulsory vaccines for people working in high risk situations and for vulnerable people.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) has said states, not the federal government, are to blame for vaccine mandates
Speaking about anti-vaccination protesters in Canberra, Mr Morrison said the states are to blame, not the federal government.
‘I want to be very clear when it comes to the issue of vaccine mandates, the Commonwealth government have only ever supported mandates that relate to aged care workers, disability workers and those that are working in high-risk situations in health system,’ he said.
‘My government has only ever supported mandates that have been recommended right across the country by the medical expert panel and our chief medical officers.
‘All other mandates that relate to vaccines have been imposed unilaterally by state governments.’
But the situation also differs from state to state.
In NSW, most premises are now open to everyone, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.
A woman receives a vaccination at a Cohealth pop-up vaccination clinic at the State Library Victoria, in Melbourne, on December 20, 2021. The rules about vaccination mandates vary from state to state
A woman holds a phone displaying a valid Australian digital Covid-19 certificate on October 14, 2021 in Sydney. But people in NSW no longer need to show evidence they are are fully vaccinated at most premises
People no longer need to show evidence they are are fully vaccinated at most premises.
But if you attend an indoor music concert with more than 1,000 people or work in industries such as an airport or transport, you still need to prove you have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine or a medical exemption.
VICTORIAN WORKERS MANDATED TO GET A THIRD VACCINATION
- Under new Pandemic Orders that came into effect on 12 January 2022, workers in key sectors who are already required to be up to date with their vaccination status with two doses, must get their third dose before being permitted to work on site.
- This applies to healthcare, aged care, disability, emergency services, correctional facilities, quarantine accommodation and food processing and distribution workers (excluding retail).
- Workplaces must sight and record proof of vaccination. This does not apply to workers who have a valid medical exemption.
Source: Victorian Government
In Victoria, to enter a venue such as a bar or restaurant, you must either prove you have two doses of a Covid vaccine, or have a valid medical exemption issued by an authorised medical practitioner.
But the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned the definition of being ‘fully vaccinated’ against Covid will soon change to mean three doses.
His government had already mandated workers in several industries to get boosters.
‘I think we’re close to a change in policy that will simply reflect the fact that in order to be fully protected you need three doses, not two plus an optional extra,’ Mr Andrews said.
In Queensland, the state regulation says ‘A person must give their contact information, proof of Covid-19 vaccination or evidence of medical contraindication by using the Check In Qld app or another measure of record keeping before entering a business establishment in which vaccination is requirement of entry.’
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently announced that the time between second doses and being eligible for a booster was changing to three months instead of four.
‘We know how vital the booster shot is,’ she said. ‘It gives that extra immunity.
‘Shortening the period between second doses and the booster will give more people more protection.’
Prof Booy wrote last week that ‘Omicron sealed the deal,’ about getting a booster shot.
‘It confirmed the need for an immune top-up. Some of Omicron’s many mutations allow it to escape, at least partially, the protection built on natural or vaccine-induced antibodies.
Professor Robert Booy, an infectious diseases expert, said he ‘wouldn’t mandate a third dose any more than the aged care workers and healthcare workers’
‘A booster does not only reduce severe Omicron disease by 85-95 per cent, it can also substantially prevent milder infections and transmissions, at least in the weeks after vaccine receipt,’ Prof Booy wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
VACCINATION RULES FOR VENUES BY STATE AND TERRITORY
NSW: People no longer need to show evidence they are are fully vaccinated at most premises.
VICTORIA: To enter a venue such as a bar or restaurant, you must either prove you have two doses of a Covid vaccine, or have a valid medical exemption.
QUEENSLAND: A person must give their contact information, proof of Covid-19 vaccination or evidence of medical contraindication by using the Check In Qld app before entering a business where vaccination is requirement of entry.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Proof of vaccination for people aged 16 years and over is required for all hospitality venues, food and licensed venues including restaurants, dine-in fast food, cafes, bars, pubs, clubs and taverns.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: You may be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination status at a workplace or when entering some businesses and venues.
TASMANIA: All patrons must be fully vaccinated (two doses) to enter a pub, nightclub or bar, or to attend a licensed event where alcohol is served to people who are likely to be standing and drinking.
NORTHERN TERRITORY: You need to show proof of vaccination when visiting bars, nightclubs, casinos and restaurants with a liquor licence.
ACT: There is no vaccine mandate to enter premises in the ACT.
Source: Daily Mail