News

Australia changes fully vaxxed definition but politicians still at odds on international arrivals

Top Aussie health officials now say two COVID vaccines and a booster shot is required to be considered up to date, causing discord between state premiers on international arrivals.

This news came from a statement by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) released yesterday. The statement specifies that a booster shot helps against the Omicron variant and highlights the importance of Aussies receiving it.

The update to the definition of “fully vaccinated” comes after a disagreement between politicians throughout the week about how this would impact Aussie tourism and standards for international arrivals.

Premiere of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, said earlier in the week that international arrivals would need to have a booster shot, which clashed with the Federal Government’s stance of just two jabs.

However Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said she was happy to welcome tourists with two jabs.

On Thursday before the national cabinet Palaszczuk said: “I know there is a different point of view from Victoria, but we are very comfortable with the two jabs.”

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet told Channel Nine he would advocate for “national consistency” in the wake of international arrivals and vaccines.

Perrottet said: “There’s been a lot of discussion around it and, if that is the advice from ATAGI, then obviously from a NSW perspective, we’ll be applying that here in our state.

“My understanding is from what the Prime Minister said yesterday is that the requirements in relation to overseas travellers coming into Australia, that it would be the two-dose vaccination that would be required.”

Perrottet also pointed out that the advice from ATAGI applies to Aussie citizens and not visitors.

“That is a different situation for those people coming from overseas in circumstances where they have different procedures and rules in place for their country,” Perrottet said.

Perrottet indicated at a press conference that NSW may still allow double vaccinated travellers despite ATAGI’s advice, claiming Australia had to re-join the world “in a sensible, measured way.”

“We cannot live here in a hermit kingdom on the other side of the world,” Perrottet said.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, one government official said it would be difficult enforcing booster mandates for international arrivals as many countries do not have booster programs.

The news comes after the announcement that Australia will open its borders to international arrivals on 21 February after being closed for nearly two years.

Arrivals caps and quarantine arrangements will continue to be up to individual states to decide.



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