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Premier, ministers fan out across the state to spruik 'vax-a-thon'

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Members of Premier Annastacia Palszczuk’s Cabinet will fan out to most corners of Queensland this week on a concerted campaign to lift the state’s vaccination rate ahead of the state’s borders opening next month.

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In an unprecedented effort, Ms Palaszcuk and eight other ministers popped up in various key locations in Queensland on Tuesday to talk up the importance of vaccinating against COVID-19.

It was the first day of a week-long “vax-a-thon” in which the ministers will be used as chief salespeople for the jab.

Palaszcuk herself was in Rockhampton this morning after blitzing the morning news programs seeking the message about Queenslanders getting the jab.

“The more Queenslanders vaccinated, the safer we’ll be,” she said.

“People want to be reunited with their family and friends.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Premier Steven Miles was at a Mount Isa vaccinate clinic, Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe was on the Gold Coast, Manufacturing Minister Glenn Butcher was at a Townsville factory and Education Minister Grace Grace visited the Nambour State College.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni was at Maryborough and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath was at a vaccination hub at Mackay Showgrounds.

Palaszczuk said those who were fully vaccinated were 86 per cent less likely to contract COVID and pass it on to a loved one.

She said her roadmap to reopening the borders to the rest of the country meant the state was unlikely to return to border closures once the target of 80 percent of the eligible population was fully vaccinated.

“That is the aim because the virus will be circulating,” she told Nine’s Today program on Tuesday.

However, the premier couldn’t guarantee the borders would remain open permanently if national cabinet decided the measures needed to return.

“I don’t know if it is rock-solid … but that is the intention of the national cabinet and that is part of the national plan,” she said.

However, she warned tighter restrictions could also apply to the unvaccinated.

For example, venues and events may be able to operate at greater densities if all patrons are fully vaccinated, she said.

“We cannot protect you if you won’t protect yourself,” the Premier said.

“We want families and friends re-united for Christmas.

“If you are yet to be vaccinated you are running out of time.”

The government also plans to drop quarantine requirements for fully-vaccinated international travellers who test negative once vaccine coverage hits 90 per cent.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said the plan would boost business confidence, but it had asked for further clarity and direction.

Businesses needed to know how mandatory vaccine rules for workplaces and business premises would be controlled, and if there would be changes to density limits and other compliance requirements.

Yvette D’Ath said the government was still working out the details, but some businesses would be allowed to drop measures such as face masks, social-distancing limits and capacity limits if they decided to open only to fully-vaccinated patrons or customers.

She said it would be up to businesses to choose what they want to do, but they would still be allowed to operate with restrictions if they chose to cater to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

“We don’t expect them to operate like police officers, they are not to take the law into their own hands and put the safety of their staff at risk,” Ms D’Ath said.

“We absolutely respect that.”

Currently, 72.5 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had one vaccine dose, and 56.9 per cent are fully vaccinated.

-with AAP

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