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Mine workers may get airport jab before boarding

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Queensland’s resources sector has sought plans to establish a vaccination hub for FIFO workers at the Brisbane Airport after the state’s chief health officer re-classified workers in the vaccine roll-out.

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Fly-in, fly out (FIFO) as well as drive in, drive out workers (DIDO) will be bumped into phase 1B of Queensland’s vaccination plan as the government seeks to protect regional communities.

Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young has encouraged FIFO and DIDO workers to register for their vaccinations via the Queensland health website to combat the infectious Delta strain of COVID-19.

People classified as a 1B vaccination priority include aged care, disability care and health care workers; teachers, transport drivers, quarantine, airport, border and FIFO/DIDO workers; as well as critical and high-risk workers such as defence, police, fire and emergency services.

The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed to the decision by Young saying it is an important step to protect regional communities from COVID-19.

They are also seeking to establish a vaccination hub for workers at Brisbane Airport subject to Pfizer availability.

“At this stage, Queensland’s vaccination roll-out is driven by the availability of vaccine supplies, which are steadily increasing, but the QRC has made it clear to government that vaccinating resources communities remains a high priority,” CEO Ian Macfarlane said.

“The QRC will continue to advocate for resources communities to be vaccinated as soon as supplies become available.”

Resources workers are already subjected to a number of stringent initiatives when travelling to and from work sites across the state.

These include health checks at the Brisbane Airport prior to flying into regional areas, onsite Covid-safe practices, mask-wearing at all times unless unsafe and additional cleaning and hygiene regimes.

Macfarlane said the resources sector will continue to observe all Covid-19 protocols as outlined by the CHO and keep encouraging resources companies to maintain their high standards.

“The QRC is in constant contact with all relevant government agencies to ensure the sector is doing everything it can to keep the industry’s workforce and regional communities safe from COVID-19,” he said.

In an effort to protect more Queenslanders, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre would be used for mass vaccinations. People can make an appointment and have their parking validated.

Queensland is also opening up registrations from 16-59-year-olds, after yesterday encouraging teachers, early education workers, FIFO miners, and freight and distribution centre workers to join the priority queue.

After criticism of the slow rollout, and issues around communicating the risk, Palaszczuk made a point of saying that the Federal Government was still responsible for 70 per cent of the vaccination effort in Queensland.

Today, Queensland Health has started the advanced rollout of vaccinations to Indigenous communities on Cape York, having previously given protection to those in the Torres Strait due to fears COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, 14 First Nations people in Queensland have been infected.

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