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Call for more kids to be jabbed as elective surgery ban set to be lifted

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Covid-19 vaccination rates in Queensland’s young children continue to lag as the State mulls which pandemic restrictions will be lifted in the next week and another six people lost their lives.

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The Palaszczuk Government has expressed worry about child vaccination rates as it announced six Covid-19 deaths and 4114 new cases

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said on Monday that only 42.08 per cent of five to 11-year-olds were vaccinated and the figure was not high enough.

“We are not even at our halfway rate of our five to 11-year-olds being vaccinated for Covid,” D’Ath said at the daily Covid-19 briefing.

In the past 24 hours the State recorded six more deaths of people in their 60s-80s and 4114 new cases of the virus.

And, two weeks after schools resumed for the year, the number of school children testing positive to the virus is 1360, down slightly from 1381 the previous day.

D’Ath said the Government would have discussions this week about which Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted at the end of February.

She said things were on track for the ban on elective surgeries across the State to be lifted.

But she pointed out that many  of the restrictions lifted recently in Victoria and New South Wales were restrictions which Queensland had not had for some time, such as density limits.

“We will have our discussions this week. The Premier made it clear we will let everyone know by the end of the month,” D’Ath said.

“So far things are looking on track that we can lift our restrictions on elective surgery.”

And she pleaded with the Commonwealth to recognise that Covid-19 is not over and the pressure on the hospital and health care systems was not going away.

“We are going to continue to have Covid patients in our hospitals for some time to come and that is on top of increasing demands.

“We do need the Commonwealth to recognise that the changes they made around Covid and health funding needs to be continued into the future … we are going to need a lot of support to deal with the backlog of elective surgery that we are going to have.

“I expect the Commonwealth to play their part and step up and help us in doing that,” D’Ath said.

Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said that of the six deaths, two were in their 60s, one in their 70s and three in their 80s.

One of these was unvaccinated, four had received two doses of the vaccine and only one had received a booster shot.

One of the six deaths was in residential aged care, bringing the total deaths in aged care since December 13 to 241.

Hospitalisation rates on Monday were sitting at 384 in public hospitals, with 34 in intensive care.

And the number of health care workers in quarantine or isolating also continues to fall. The figure is now 1361, compared to 1817 a week ago and more than 6000 at the peak of the Omicron wave.

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