Boosters urged in Qld after seven deaths

Marty Silk and Laine Clark |

Queensland has recorded 15,122 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths in the latest reporting period.
Queensland has recorded 15,122 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths in the latest reporting period.

Queenslanders are being urged to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster after the state recorded seven deaths on its deadliest day of the pandemic so far.

The number of people who died of the virus in the 24 hours to Monday morning matched the state’s death toll for the two years prior to this month.

Two of the dead were in their 80s, five were in their 90s with all suffering significant underlying medical conditions.

Two were unvaccinated and none had had a booster, with Health Minister Yvette D’Ath saying a third jab will offer people vital protection as the state recorded 15,122 new cases.

“If I can encourage Queenslanders out there to do anything today, it’s get yourself a booster shot,” she told reporters on Monday.

“If someone you know who is eligible for booster shot, (and) hasn’t got it yet, please encourage them to come forward.”

There are 702 people in state hospitals, with 47 in intensive care and 15 on ventilation.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said clinical data shows unvaccinated people are 24 times more likely to end up in ICU than the triple-vaccinated.

“I’m very pleased to see that almost a million Queenslanders have received their third dose of vaccine, that’s fantastic,” he told reporters.

“I am still very concerned that there are vulnerable people elderly people who have not received their third dose of vaccine.”

The latest figures show 91.59 per cent of eligible people in the state have had one vaccine dose and 88.71 per cent both.

The 15,122 new cases emerged after 30,963 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Monday with the number of active cases in Queensland at 86,953.

Boulia, in the far west, is now the only local government area in Queensland that hasn’t recorded a case in the current wave.

The number of deaths in Queensland remains low, Dr Gerrard said, as the outbreak is yet to peak.

“We know it’s a lagging indicator, so the numbers will increase, there will be more,” he said.

“So far the numbers have been small … so far it’s heartening, but the numbers will increase.”

He expects the outbreak to peak on the Gold Coast in the next week and then Brisbane shortly after.

Meanwhile, state schools won’t do extra week of classes in December to make up for the start of the academic year being delayed from January 24 to February 7.

Education Minister Grace Grace said any curriculum missed during the delay will be squeezed into the shortened first semester.

“Queensland has some of the best principals and teachers and staff in the country, they are highly skilled at delivering the curriculum across the school here and students will not miss out,” she said.

“Can I assure parents and carers, that they will not miss out on any essential content due to the delay now in the start of the term.”

Queensland removed all border controls for domestic travellers on Saturday and it will ditch restrictions on vaccinated international arrivals who test negative once 90 per cent of eligible residents have had two doses, which is expected in the coming days.