Ipswich and Somerset Region are trailing in efforts to vaccinate against COVID-19.
Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann said he understood the frustration residents and businesses experienced as a result of border closures and continued restrictions, but added the only way out is getting more people vaccinated.
“While the Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA) has approved booster shots for fully vaccinated Australians, in Ipswich and the Somerset Region far too many have yet to receive either their first or second doses,” Mr Neumann said.
“I would love to see families able to reunite for Christmas, but cross-border travel will require Queensland to have 70 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated by about 19 November.
“I’m concerned that is not happening fast enough.”
On 25 October 2021, only 57 per cent of residents in Ipswich City local government area (LGA) had been fully vaccinated, with 73 per cent having received one dose.
In the Somerset Region LGA 54.9 per cent or residents were fully vaccinated, with 71 per cent having received one dose.
Across Queensland, 61.8 per cent have been fully vaccinated while 76.1 percent have received their first dose.
Meanwhile, nationally 74.8 per cent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, with 87.4 per cent having received one dose.
Mr Neumann acknowledged there have been some unnecessary challenges to achieving higher rates of vaccination.
“The Morrison Government failed in the first instance to order enough vaccines and then failed to communicate the importance of vaccination to the Australian people.
“The roll-out was haphazard and confusing and far too many vulnerable people and front-line workers were left behind.
“Now there is significant local hesitancy to get vaccinated.
“The Queensland Government’s strict rules kept us relatively safe, unlike Victoria and New South Wales, which continue to see far too many people acquiring the COVID-19, causing serious health issues and deaths.
“Our relative safety may be causing some complacency as we have not experienced the high death rates or long periods of lockdown.
“But the Morrison-Joyce Government’s poor messaging has left far too many residents concerned about the vaccines.
“There is a lot of misinformation and outright lies, even from the Government’s own Members and Senators.
“It is not assisted by the Government’s refusal to allow scrutiny of the COVID-19 management and impact.
“It is unconscionable that we are kept in the dark about the modelling that shows what could happen when we open the borders.
“It just builds complacency and scepticism amongst the population, while making it difficult for the health system to fully prepare.
“In the absence of real facts and informed discussion, some less scrupulous people fill the void with conspiracy theories, fake news and lies.”
Mr Neumann said it was imperative that locals rolled up their sleeves to help get the region back on track.
“We cannot wait for the Morrison-Joyce Government to fix the problems. Local people need to take action and get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
For information on where to get a vaccination call 13 HEALTH (13 432 584) or head to www.health.qld.gov.au.