Leaders urge get vaccinated now


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch receiving his COVID-19 Jab. Image: Supplied.
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The quicker individuals get vaccinated against Covid-19, the better it will be for society.

This is the standard response from some of our business and political leaders and comes at a time when lockdowns seem to be a part of our lives for an indefinite period. It is also prudent to follow this advice and not be influenced by the anti-vaxxers.

“Our society must be protected and this is among the major reasons why we all need to be vaccinated, and not be influenced by those who do not support the vaccination,” said Warren Entsch, Federal Member for Leichhardt.

“And the quicker we can get it done, the better. I have had two vaccinations and can now move around with a clear conscience.

“I am also glad that I have had it done and I hope others follow suit,” said Entsch, who will be contesting his seat in the next federal election.

Cynthia Lui, the state member for Cook, said Covid-19 vaccines are vitally important as they save lives, reduce transmission, protect the vulnerable and hasten our economic recovery.

“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible to do so.

“I was initially impacted by the original lockdown and I was unable to move around my electorate,” said Lui, who has received two doses.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said as he travels frequently, it was prudent to get the vaccination.

“If we want to get back to a tourism normal, I believe that we need to get on board.

“I believe that the more people vaccinated, the less chance of overwhelming our medical system giving tourism the best opportunity. If we are going to stop these border closures, I think this is the best way,” said Kerr.

Border closures

Tara Bennett, CEO of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD), echoed Mayor Kerr’s comments about border closures.

“By being vaccinated we can avoid further lockdowns and start opening up to international travel as is happening in many parts of the world with high vaccine rates.

”Covid-19 has impacted so many aspects of our lives; from the devastation it’s wreaked on tourism in Douglas, to not seeing family and friends for important life events, as well as my ability to travel overseas.

“The impacts will continue until Australia achieves much higher rates of vaccination,” said Ms Bennett, who has received her first dose and booked in for her second.

Douglas Shire Chamber of Commerce president Liz Ross said the vaccination is important for ‘the person’ to work out for themselves.

“I don’t believe in trying to tell anyone what they should or should not do. This is my opinion why the world is so fraught with what I call ‘consideration of doing what is best for self’.

“However, it is important as it’s about protecting my family, my children and grandchildren. Even with having the jab, there are no guarantees of not getting it. We ae being told, that our chances are better of survival if we have the injection,” she said.

Ms Ross said she should all get the jab and hope that sometime soon we can have the country open again to International tourists and visitors from other states, including the workers that help with making our area such a beautiful place to come and live in peace and serenity.

Financial/emotional impact

Meanwhile, Cairns Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) are calling for the financial and emotional impact of COVID lockdowns and restrictions across state borders on regional Queensland business and consumer confidence to be recognised with support offered to those hardest hit.

Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Patricia O’Neill said tourism, hospitality and retail businesses in Far North Queensland had still not recovered from the financial and emotional impacts of COVID restrictions and lockdowns.

“We might be thousands of kilometres away from the hard lockdowns in other Australian states, but Far North Queensland businesses haven’t been spared the impact they have on business and consumer confidence,” said Ms O’Neill.

Recent data from Tourism and Events Queensland shows Far North Queensland domestic visitation was down close to 40% in the year ending March, with expenditure down 9.4% in the same period.

Ms O’Neill said consumer confidence had taken a significant hit, with tourism, hospitality and retail businesses in particular struggling to generate pre-COVID demand levels.

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