Experts have slammed Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ plan to exclude unvaccinated people from public venues throughout next year.
In mid-October Mr Andrews warned that the ability of unvaccinated people to participate in public events and attend venues would be restricted ‘well into 2022’.
‘For example, the Grand Prix is in April, I don’t think there will be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed,’ Mr Andrews said.
In NSW, unvaccinated people will be able to enjoy the same freedoms as the fully vaccinated from December 15 but Mr Andrews had said that ‘doesn’t make any sense to me’.
‘I cannot put a day on it [when unvaccinated people could enjoy the same freedoms]… it will not be when we reach 90 per cent. It will not be anytime soon. That is going to function for a period of time, well into 2022.’
But a number of health experts have questioned the wisdom of blanket vaccine passports in Victoria into next year.
Health experts are questioning Victorian Premier Dan Andrews’ claim that unvaccinated people will not be able to attend public events and venues until ‘well into 2022’
Victoria is approaching 90 per cent of people with both doses of a Covid vaccine while 93 per cent have received one dose
Experts broadly agree that the wider risk posed by unvaccinated people is minimal when the eligible population reaches 90-95 per cent full vaccination
Professor Julie Leask from the University of Sydney, who acts as an adviser to the World Health Organisation, wrote in The Age that ‘locking out’ those who are unvaccinated into 2022 was ‘disproportionate to the risks the unvaccinated pose’ in a population that will reach at least 93 per cent two-dose coverage by the end of 2021.
‘We cannot lock out risk by locking out the unvaccinated indefinitely from everyday life,’ Professor Leask wrote.
She said banning the unvaccinated for an extended period can create ‘radicalisation’ and give ‘vaccination and primary healthcare a bad name by using [mandates] to weaponise and please the populace’.
Her comments followed similar remarks by Doherty Institute director and infectious disease physician, Dr Sharon Lewin.
‘Having incentives to vaccinate people is very good, and I fully support having compulsory vaccination in certain areas, but I think we’ve got to be careful about keeping unvaccinated people out for an unspecified period of time,’ Dr Lewin said.
Doherty Institute director and infectious disease physician, Dr Sharon Lewin, is one expert who has questioned a continuing ‘lock out’ of unvaccinated people from venues and events in Victoria
The experts broadly agree that the wider risk posed by unvaccinated people is minimal when the eligible population reaches 90-95 per cent full vaccination.
Victoria is approaching 90 per cent of people with two doses of a Covid vaccine while 93 per cent had received one dose.
Meanwhile, Mr Andrews has refused to rule out making Covid vaccinations mandatory for children as young as five years, despite the virus posing little danger to the age group.
Mr Andrews cited ‘no jab, no play’ rules for other childhood vaccinations as justification for potentially imposing the mandate on young children.
‘I would just remind you that we have “no jab, no play” in literally hundreds and hundreds of early childhood settings. It’s not a new thing at all,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘It’s too early for us to be definitive about what it will mean for that age group. It’s still to be worked through.’
Covid vaccines for the five to 11-year-old age group are yet to be ruled safe by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The TGA is reviewing international health and safety data on the possibility of the Pfizer vaccine being administered to five to 11-year-olds.
Melbourne paediatrician Associate Professor Margie Danchin Tweeted that fears of the heart conditions myocarditis or pericarditis in the young age cohort had so far not emerged in the US, which began vaccinating 5-11 years-olds three weeks ago.
‘After vaccination of more than 3 million kids 5-11 years in the US there is no myocarditis/pericarditis signal but need to wait another 3 weeks for dose 2 data,’ she posted.
‘Hopefully TGA decision and ATAGI guidance not to far away; vaccine expected early Jan.’
There is debate as to whether the vaccine is necessary for younger children, with University of Sydney infectious diseases paediatrician Robert Booy pointing out that in healthy children, ‘they are only going to get a cold, if that,’ should they contract Covid-19.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the government was waiting on official advice on whether Covid vaccines for children 5-11 years were ‘safe and effective’.
‘We’ll always consult with childhood health experts and consider the best interests of our children before making any decision,’ he said.
‘We’re confident we’ll see strong take-up among those aged 5-11 when the Commonwealth says it is safe to do so.’
Mr Andrews refused to rule out making Covid vaccination mandatory for children as young as five years, despite the virus posing little danger to the age group
The Federal Health Department’s former deputy chief medical officer, Nick Coatsworth, has been critical of suggestions Covid vaccines should be mandated for those under 12.
‘Whilst I encourage parents to vaccinate their 12-15 year-old children, the risk of myocarditis especially in young boys is sufficient that parents have every right to wait for more data or to decline vaccination,’ Dr Coatsworth told News Limited.
On Monday, the Victorian government backflipped on a public health direction that unvaccinated 12-15-year-olds would not be able to attend certain venues or events, including end-of-year graduation ceremonies.
And exemption was granted for those in the age group who had not received a Covid vaccine so that they are able to attend ‘camps, excursions, graduations and other school activities held at open premises that are also used by other schools or patrons from Tuesday 23 November,’ advice from the Victorian department of health to schools stated.
‘Regrettable and concerning that this was ever on the table, but kudos for getting to the right decision,’ Dr Coatsworth Tweeted.
‘Hopefully the reprieve is permanent, and equally that it is accompanied by parents with unvaccinated kids reconsidering over time.’