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Are you kidding? Premier 'denying reality' with call to jab children under 12

Politics

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has accused the Queensland premier of denying reality after she declared border restrictions could remain until all children are vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Annastacia Palaszczuk has exposed a new division in the national reopening plan, which is linked to vaccination coverage targets of 70 and 80 per cent.

The Queensland Labor leader is pledging to retain her hardline approach despite other states conceding eliminating coronavirus will be impossible.

Palaszczuk called for more research about vaccinating children under 12, a practice yet to be approved anywhere in the world.

Frydenberg said her claim that children would be vulnerable if the virus circulated in Queensland didn’t stack up.

“It’s a desperate denial of the reality and is not based on the medical advice,” he told the Seven Network on Thursday.

“The medical advice is that the illnesses in kids are much less severe than what we see in adults.”

Children aged 12 to 15 were added to the rollout last week following advice from the expert immunisation panel.

Victoria has dumped its goal of returning to zero cases after recording its first triple-figure daily increase in a year.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian continues to dangle the prospect of increased freedoms when vaccination targets are reached, even with more than 1000 new infections a day.

The stance of Australia’s most populous state is now at odds with COVID-free jurisdictions which have given soaring support to governments that eliminated the disease.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid warned the health system will not cope with rising cases when the nation reopens.

“We must urgently prepare our health system before opening up and to do that we need new modelling based on our hospitals’ ability to cope with the associated increase in caseload,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, premiers and chief ministers will receive an update on how hospitals are placed at Friday’s national cabinet meeting.

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