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Deadline looming for vaccination axe to fall

The additional supplies, secured from surplus doses destined for European nations including Spain, come in addition to the 4.5m Pfizer doses secured via swap deals with the UK and Singapore. The extra Moderna doses are expected to arrive in coming days and will be rolled out through the country’s network of 3600 pharmacies already administering Covid-19 jabs from September 20. The boost in vaccine stocks comes alongside the launch of the next phase of the government’s advertising campaign, titled “First Things First”, which is due to hit airwaves and TV screens on Monday. National – 2021 – Covid Vaccination StatsPrime Minister Scott Morrison said the additional supplies meant everyone in Australia could be offered the jab by October. And because the Moderna jab has been approved for use in children aged 12 and older, he said “Families will now be able to go along together to their pharmacy to get their vaccinations”.“In October we’re going to have enough vaccines in the country to have offered everyone a jab meaning we’ll be able to take the next steps in our plan to safely reopen Australia,” he said. “The next few weeks will of course be very critical, as we work together to reach the targets and the goals set out in the national plan.”But the next crucial deadline is September 17 — the date every aged care worker is expected to have received at least one dose of the vaccine. In Queensland, the deadline is one day earlier on September 16. Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said she was “concerned” the private aged care sector would not be able to meet the jab deadline, sparking staffing shortages as unvaccinated workers aren’t allowed to keep working except in certain circumstances. She called for the federal government to outline their “contingency plans” to make up for staffing shortages in the private sector.The latest data revealed 88.3 per cent of Queensland’s aged care workers had received at least one dose of the jab, meaning nearly 6000 staff have until Friday to get vaccinated. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he expected an “uptick” in vaccination rates over the next few days, and flagged that national cabinet would be briefed on the aged care sector take up when they next meet on September 17. “We think that it would be in a very strong position by the end of the week,” he said. Queensland Health workers will also be made to get the jab, with the state government mandating every staff member get at least one dose by September 30 and be fully vaccinated by the end of October. Ms D’Ath said although 80 per cent of the state’s health workforce was vaccinated, more health professionals need to get jabbed.“We have seen a lot of transmission of the virus in hospitals in New South Wales, and sadly, we have seen a lot of deaths associated with those hospital transmissions, so we do need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to lower the risk,” she said.She said unvaccinated health care workers would be redeployed to different roles based on their risk level. And Ms D’Ath signalled no amnesty for anti-vaxxer health workers.“If an individual feels so strongly that they do not want to work in an environment that they have to be vaccinated, that is a choice for them,” she said.The latest Covid-19 vaccine data shows 56.4 per cent of Queenslanders have had at least one dose of the vaccine, with the state still ranking dead last in the national race to inoculation.

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