Tasmania’s slowing vaccination rate

In Community, Featured Home Page News, Government, Tasmania, Tourism Routes

There is concern over Tasmania’s vaccination rate, as the number of those getting fully vaccinated is slowing.  Premier Peter Gutwein reminded Tasmanians that the borders reopening was contingent on the state achieving a 90 per cent vaccination rate for residents aged 12 years and over.

Key Points

  • 12 to 18 year olds who receive the vaccine by Wednesday the 24th will be in a draw with a chance to win an iPad and iPhone or an Apple Watch.
  • From December 6, Public Health will be lifting the current restrictions internally of 250 patrons outdoor and 100 patrons indoor drinking and dancing provided they are fully vaccinated.

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from the mercury 19.11.21

Tassie teens will have the chance to win new iPhones, iPads and Apple watches if they get vaccinated against Covid, the Premier has announced.

As our borders prepare to open, and with vaccination rates slowing, Premier Peter Gutwein has announced a “five day vaccination blitz” targeted at 12-18-year-olds.

“If you’re aged 12 to 18 and have had a first or second dose of the vaccine by Wednesday the 24th you will be in a draw with a chance to win an iPad and iPhone or an Apple Watch,” Mr Gutwein said.

Australia’s Vaccination progress
Doses delivered
Total confirmed Cases

“Now we’ve had many conversations about what we can do to pick the vaccination rate up and where I don’t want to be on December the 16th is looking back and saying gee, I wish that we done a little bit more or we provided some incentives and so for this group, there are going to be incentives.

“There will be 50 prizes to be won including spot prizes, especially for young people who are vaccinated in the next five days at state run clinics. Please make the most of this opportunity.”

He also provided an update on the 37-year-old man who arrived in Tasmania from Queensland and escaped the Peppers Seaport Hotel quarantine facility via a third-storey balcony.

“He remains in the Fountainside Covid facility and is working with police and there are no major issues there regarding the case, who left the quarantine facility in Launceston,” Mr Gutwein said.

“In fact he is on remand and will be fronting court today.”

As reported yesterday, the man produced a negative Covid test.

The Premier reminded Tasmanians that our borders reopening was contingent on the state achieving a 90 per cent vaccination rate for residents aged 12 years and over.

“People need to keep turning up (to their first and follow-up second vaccination appointments),” Mr Gutwein said.

“We are one of the safest places to live but we must continue to achieve our vaccination rates. We’ve set that high rate of 90 per cent fully vaccinated for all Tasmanians aged 12 years and over.

“And we know from what’s occurring in other jurisdictions that vaccination works in the ACT they have the highest vaccination rate in the country. 95 per cent of those aged 12 years and older and as a result, serious illness and hospitalisations are very low.”

The Premier backed down on previous advice that biosecurity officers would only be equipped to do “spot checks” on arrivals into Tasmania to ensure they were fully vaccinated.

“When I speak about our borders and the controls we have in place and I must say quite disappointingly it hasn’t taken long for the politics to be played with this … it wasn’t a stand up Covid press conference yesterday I was asked a question on the fly and I provided some detail,” Mr Gutwein said.

“I want to provide more detail today so everybody understands exactly where we stand.”

The premier said visitors would need to apply for travel as stands currently and use what will be an updated version of the Tassie Good2Go travel system.

“This will enable you to provide a declaration that you’re fully vaccinated and if you’re from a high risk state or area you’ll need to have had the test and agree to the test 72 hours prior to travel as we’ve said for up to the first four weeks before review,” Mr Gutwein said.

“There were then a series of checkpoints which will help ensure that people are meeting the requirements.

“So firstly, you fill out the government travel app and you provide in that declaration that you have been fully vaccinated and that you’ll have the test within 72 hours.

“The next check occurs when you purchase your tickets. And airlines provide guidance to ensure that you’re meeting the travel criteria to come to Tasmania or conversely if you’re leaving the state.

“If you look at what’s required when you’re booking most tickets, it’ll actually ask you the question as to whether or not you meet the requirements in terms of where you’re traveling to and we will be no different.

“The next check occurs after that when you check in for your flight. And again by the airline you’ll be asked to confirm that you’ve met the criteria to travel to Tasmania, that’s where you’re coming or if you’re traveling from out of the state. And you’ll need to confirm that you’ve met the requirements for those other jurisdictions if they have them in place.

“Furthermore, when traveling through our interstate airports. What we can do is make certain that people are fully aware of what the travel requirements are, we will be increasing the staff at those interstate airports to ensure that people understand fully whilst they are in the departure lounge exactly what’s required before they come here.”

Mr Gutwein said on arrival in Tasmania, every person that walks through the airport entry gates will need to display to a biosecurity officer their evidence that they’ve met the rules regarding double vaccination and if from a high risk jurisdiction that they’ve had the pre travel test.

Director of Public Health Doctor Mark Veitch with clinical nurse consultant Nikki Lane at the Roy Fagan Centre in Hobart. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

Director of Public Health Doctor Mark Veitch with clinical nurse consultant Nikki Lane at the Roy Fagan Centre in Hobart. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

He said for those who aren’t able to provide that information, they’ll be removed from the queue to provide further detail in terms of their checking and verification of the fact that they’ve met our rules.

“Conditionally as I indicated yesterday, there’ll be further spot checks that will occur again … one of the things that we need to ensure is that the identification of the person behind the ticket is that they are that person and so we will be spot checking and pulling people out of the line,” Mr Gutwein said.

“Now, if travelling and you are double vaccinated, but you haven’t had a pretest if that’s required, you will be ordered to quarantine until a negative test is produced.”

The premier said if you arrive unvaccinated or not following the rules, you’ll be placed in the government quarantine or sent home.

“Now, penalties for non compliance will apply; this will include on the spot fines of $1557 for failing to comply with what you’re required to do to enter the state,” Mr Gutwein said.

“Furthermore, and I want to be really clear about this, you could face being arrested, summonsed and charged with a penalty of up to $70,000 or six months in prison.

“Now obviously we don’t want to see that occur and we would hope that people would do the right thing but for serious cases that an on the spot fine is not suitable for them. Police will obviously have that power available to them.”

Mr Gutwein said if you’re a Tasmanian planning to travel in the school holidays, to come back into the state you and your children aged over 12 will need to be fully vaccinated or you’ll be required to undertake quarantine.

“If you’re returning from a holiday longer than seven days in a high risk jurisdiction and I’ll name Victoria and New South Wales, you will need to get a pretest as well if you’ve gone longer than seven days,” he said.

Events framework update

Mr Gutwein also provided an update on the review into the state’s event framework, in particular the rules and limits around dancing and stand up drinking.

“The caps won’t change so 5000 to large outdoor moving events the same caps will apply on venues etc and the density limits as they stand at the moment,” he said.

“However, from December 6, Public Health will be lifting the current restrictions internally of 250 patrons outdoor and 100 patrons indoor drinking and dancing provided from the 6th of December that all patrons who attend are fully vaccinated now from the 15th of December when we reopen to the rest of the country.

“Staff will also need to be fully vaccinated in those venues. So this means that if you’re adding an event from the 6th of December … 5000 people will be able to stand up and drink or dance as long as every patron is fully vaccinated.”

Spot check plan to manage Covid like fruit fly invasion

NOT every traveller arriving in Tasmania after December 15 will have their vaccination status checked on arrival, Premier Peter Gutwein says.

The state’s borders reopen on that date to those who are fully vaccinated and have had a negative Covid-19 test in the 72 hours prior to their arrival.

But Mr Gutwein said it would not be possible to check every single arrival had complied with the requirements.

“Obviously at the airport will be seeing thousands of people coming through. It will not be possible to stop every person,” he said.

Arrivals into Hobart Airport going through COVID screening procedures with Biosecurity Tasmania. Picture: MATHEW FARRELL

Arrivals into Hobart Airport going through COVID screening procedures with Biosecurity Tasmania. Picture: MATHEW FARRELL

“There will be fines that will be applied, should somebody attempt to enter the state without having the appropriate vaccination or pre-travel test.

“I expect that we’ll see a heavy police presence, as well as Biosecurity Tas, at our airports and seaports in the weeks after the border opens, but it will be done on a spot-check audit basis — similar to how we manage the incursion of fruit fly or other diseases into the state.”

Mr Gutwein said travellers would be asked about their vaccination status when they checked in.

“Every traveller will need to provide evidence that they have been double vaccinated …

from those jurisdictions where we were requiring and have had the Covid test within 72 hours of travel.

Premier Peter Gutwein. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

Premier Peter Gutwein. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

“That will be a part of the travel check-in arrangement when they come to Tasmania.”

Officials have previously pointed out that Tasmania has no way of legally enforcing entry requirements at check-in in other states — after the arrival of an unauthorised traveller with Covid-19.

Mr Gutwein will provide an update on preparations for the border reopening on Friday.

He said he also hoped to provide more detail what parts of the public sector workforce would be required to be vaccinated by the end of next week.

“Tomorrow, we’ll provide further information in regards to events and the restrictions in terms of dancing and stand-up drinking,” he said.

Are you worried not every arrival into Tasmania will be checked if they’re fully vaccinated?

“Also, next week, we intend to provide detailed information in terms of testing, tracking, isolation and quarantine measures that will be in place from the 15th of December so businesses have absolute clarity in terms of what they need to do should they have a case.”

He urged businesses to make sure they were ready for the resumption of travel with other jurisdictions.

“My message to them is that the Covid safety plan that you have in place now is the Covid safety plan that you should be using after we open up on December 15,” Mr Gutwein said.

Tasmania’s Vaccination Status

  1. Hobart: First dose: >95% Second dose: 93.5%
  2. Kingborough: First dose: >95% Second dose: 92.8%
  3. Clarence: First dose: >95% Second dose: 92.3%
  4. Glenorchy: First dose: >95% Second dose: 90.0%
  5. Tasman: First dose: >95% Second dose: 87.4%
  6. West Tamar: First dose: 93.3% Second dose: 85.7%
  7. Launceston: First dose: 92.4% Second dose: 84.5%
  8. Brighton: First dose: 94.0% Second dose: 84.5%
  9. Sorell: First dose: 93.7% Second dose: 84.0%
  10. Central Coast: First dose: 91.5% Second dose: 83.3%
  11. Northern Midlands: First dose: 90.8% Second dose: 82.4%
  12. Dorset: First dose: 90.4% Second dose: 82.4%
  13. Derwent Valley: First dose: 91.2% Second dose: 81.2%
  14. Latrobe: First dose: 90.5% Second dose: 80.5%
  15. Meander Valley: First dose: 88.2% Second dose: 80.3%
  16. Huon Valley: First dose: 88.9% Second dose: 80.2%
  17. Devonport: First dose: 89.8% Second dose: 79.7%
  18. Waratah/Wynyard: First dose: 88.2% Second dose: 79.1%
  19. Break O’Day: First dose: 91.2% Second dose: 79.0%
  20. George Town: First dose: 84.5% Second dose: 78.1%
  21. Central Highlands: First dose: 88.9% Second dose: 78.0%
  22. Burnie: First dose: 88.1% Second dose: 77.7%
  23. Southern Midlands: First dose: 87.3% Second dose: 76.9%
  24. Circular Head: First dose: 82.8% Second dose: 74.7%
  25. Kentish: First dose: 83.2% Second dose: 73.7%

Current as at November 21, 2021 | Source: health.gov.au

Shadow Health Minister Anita Dow said the government had had enough time to ensure the process was ready.

“The Premier led the community to believe that everyone entering the state will have to show their vaccination passport,” Ms Dow said.

“The government have had long enough to design this process and invest in the technology and the workforce required to check people’s vaccination status quickly and accurately.

“It is simply not good enough to manage Covid in the same way we manage fruit fly incursion particularly given our already heavily burdened health system.

“The government said that as part of their plan to reopen borders travellers would need to be double vaccinated.

“The government need to clarify whether the decision to only spot check travellers is based on public health advice, because it appears inconsistent with the roadmap and the commitments the Premier made to Tasmanians.”

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