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What about the children? Premier says under 12s 'omitted' from jab plans

Politics

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told MPs they should be worried for every child and grandchild under 12 if Australia sticks with a plan to open up before everyone is vaccinated.

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Palaszczuk told parliament she was not content to rely on Doherty Institute “slide shows” at National Cabinet and was awaiting a written report on the vaccination thresholds for easing restrictions.

The institute has suggested infections and deaths will be more limited, and lockdowns and restrictions less necessary, once vaccination coverage reaches 70-80 per cent of eligible Australians.

Those targets have been used by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to emphasise vaccination as the key to restoring everyday freedoms, despite the ongoing outbreak in southern states.

But Palaszczuk has also asked the institute to predict what might happen to children aged under 12, who are not currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and she said had been “omitted” from modelling and plans.

Palaszczuk has previously warned against Queensland opening up to NSW if there are still a large number of COVID-19 cases interstate, and suggested vaccination targets be written around everyone being offered a vaccine.

“I have asked for some further research about children and I honestly believe we need to have more research done,” Palaszczuk said, warning MPs that every child under 12 was vulnerable and at risk.

“This is the most serious issue that our country will face.”

Asked by Opposition frontbencher Deb Frecklington whether that meant Queensland would not open up until it had 100 per cent vaccination coverage, Palaszczuk only repeated that she had asked for further modelling to be done.

“We need some medical advice because if you’re going to let the virus in and rip through … what’s going to happen to the children? I want to know, what is going to happen to the children of this state?”

Palaszczuk said she backed high school students becoming eligible for vaccinations, and had spoken with people about children having to wear masks in childcare centres and schools.

Her comments came after the recent Indooroopilly cluster spread through several Brisbane schools.

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