Greens press conference
Greens press conference

Greens’ advice sheds anti-vax image

The Queensland Greens are helping shed the party's anti-vax image, saying they will get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is released and urging others to take it up.

Member for South Brisbane Amy MacMahon said the minor party would be pushing to ensure access to the vaccine was fast and free for vulnerable people, frontline workers and all Queenslanders.

She pointed to the Therapeutic Goods Administration's review of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines, saying their approval would mean the jab was safe and effective.

"I will definitely be getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available," Ms MacMahon said.

Greens Member for South Brisbane Amy MacMahon
Greens Member for South Brisbane Amy MacMahon

"It's a crucial element in ensuring that Queensland and Australia can return to normal after this global pandemic.

"I encourage every Queenslander to get the vaccine once it's available."

The move follows senator Sarah Hanson-Young's warning of anti-vaccination sentiment within the party, while arguing it often transcended party politics.

In 2015 the Greens were forced to distance themselves from a Facebook post attributed to the party in Townsville that suggested vaccinations, not life-threatening diseases, were killing children.

And in 2019 the AMA slammed the Greens for preferencing an anti-vax campaigner over the Coalition.

Fellow Queensland Greens MP Michael Berkman said he too was looking forward to getting the vaccine, and encouraged other Queenslanders to get the jab when it became available.

"I only wish Australia had the capacity to manufacture both the Pfizer and Oxford vaccine so once the TGA had completed their review we could vaccinate every Australian much faster," he said.

Meanwhile, industry and business groups are not committing support to mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for customers and patrons, after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian indicated certain venues in her state may make it a requirement.

Greens MP Michael Berkman
Greens MP Michael Berkman

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said the Queensland Government was aware of NSW's proposal, but was yet to see any details over how it would be implemented.

The National Retail Association also has not heard plans from their members to make it a requirement for staff and customers to get the vaccination.

CCIQ's Amanda Rohan. Picture: Annette Dew
CCIQ's Amanda Rohan. Picture: Annette Dew

A spokesman said while they supported the vaccine as a path back to normal businesses operations, they also believe it would become "divisive and controversial" if people were forced to have it against their will.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said it would not have a position on mandatory jabs for patrons until further information about the vaccination was made available.

General manager (advocacy and policy) Amanda Rohan said the chamber had not yet heard any detailed intentions from its members about the vaccine.

"What we will be advising is what the legalities are, and that will not be known until there is a legislation regarding the COVID vaccination," she said.

"There is still much unknown regarding the vaccination, including its distribution, availability to the broader public, and allowed exemptions to name a few.

"Additionally, it will be how and what information a business would have access to, regarding a person's vaccination status and again the legalities surrounding the right to refuse entry based on that status."

Ms D'Ath said the Federal Government would lead a national communications campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated, but it will be complemented by "state-based messaging".

"We will be encouraging all Queenslanders who are able to be vaccinated to get vaccinated," the Health Minister said.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath. (News Corp/Attila Csaszar)
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath. (News Corp/Attila Csaszar)

"Vaccination will be crucial to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and protect vulnerable members of the community."

A University of Queensland spokeswoman said UQ would also be encouraging its community to protect itself through COVID-19 immunisation.

She said any students going on placements, such as in the health and aged care sectors, would need to meet the requirements of their placement providers.



Originally published as Greens' advice sheds anti-vax image