Australia Covid News Live: Queensland Premier���s Vaccination Comments Under Fire

It’s the “beginning of the end” for the AstraZeneca vaccine, with production of the jab on Australian shores to be suspended by Christmas.

The vaccine will no longer be made here, 9 News reports, with the safe and effective jab finally succumbing to months of hesitancy, after being linked to an extremely rare blood clotting side effect.

Demand for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has now rendered the vaccine irrelevant.

“Obviously we don’t want to manufacture something that’s not going to be utilised, and we will have a number of options moving into the future,” University of Queensland Associate Professor Paul Griffin told the network.

Australia to cease making AstraZenaca. Federal Government won’t extend current contact, and current order will be finished around Christmas. @9NewsAUShttps://t.co/xPCwpGSVYA

— Chris O'Keefe (@cokeefe9) October 13, 2021

“It obviously has received a lot of negative press and it’s a vaccine that has proven highly effective and very safe.”

Once the current order is complete, it’s expected the vaccine’s Melbourne manufacturer, CSL, will cease production, and the Federal Government will “almost certainly” not extend the contract beyond this year.

“Not withstanding the perhaps disproportionate criticism that this vaccine’s reputation has experienced, we couldn’t be prouder that the AstraZeneca vaccine has given protection to many millions of Australians,” CSL chairman Brian McNamee told investors.

Almost 12.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab have been given to Australians.

Our live coverage has now ended. Read on below for Wednesday’s top updates.

‘We will not keep it out forever’

Western Australia’s Vaccine Commander had a message for those in his state yet to take up the jab, warning they “will not keep [the virus] out forever”.

During a visit to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, which has one of WA’s lowest vaccination rates, Chris Dawson said that only seven out of 10 West Australians have had their first vaccine dose.

“I have a couple of sobering messages for you,” he said on Wednesday morning.

WA Police Commissioner and Vaccine Commander Chris Dawson. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tony McDonough
WA Police Commissioner and Vaccine Commander Chris Dawson. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tony McDonough

“Only seven out of 10 West Australians have got their first jab and just over five out of 10 over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated.

“Covid-19 [will come]. It is not a case of if it will come, it is a case of when it comes.

“We have not been able to keep this disease at bay for nearly two years. We will not keep it out forever.

“This is why it is so important that you get vaccinated now. It will come, it will infect, and it will kill some people.”

Victoria warned to brace for more deaths

It might have finally reached the peak of its current outbreak, but Victorians have been warned to brace for more Covid deaths.

Virus fatalities surged to 13 on Wednesday – marking the single deadliest day of the state’s outbreak – while 1571 cases were confirmed in the 24 hours to midnight.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said he was “cautiously optimistic” about what appeared to be a downward trend in case numbers.

“I think it’s terrific to have seen a consistent drop over a few days,” Professor Sutton said.

13 deaths reported today in Victoria (114 recorded in this wave) pic.twitter.com/u9GMcLX6lz

— casey briggs (@CaseyBriggs) October 12, 2021

But, he warned, “it’s not definitive and we can see numbers bounce around and we can see behavioural changes affect the numbers a few days later”.

Health Minister Martin Foley said it was likely more people would die before the outbreak’s brought under control.

“I can’t forecast how the chains of transmission play out in communities, but I think that we all have to brace ourselves for the, sadly, inevitable fact, that there will be more fatalities from Covid,” he said.

TGA approves Pfizer jab for 5 to 11-year-olds

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted a provisional determination to Pfizer for use of its vaccine in Aussie kids between the ages of five and 11.

“On 12 October 2021, the TGA, part of the Department of Health, granted a provisional determination to Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd in relation to its Covid-19 vaccine, COMIRNATY,” the TGA said in a statement.

We have granted a provisional determination to Pfizer Australia in relation to its #COVID19 vaccine, COMIRNATY.

Pfizer is now eligible to apply to the TGA to vary the provisional approval for the vaccine to include children aged 5 to 11 years.

Read more: https://t.co/tceEgbrihNpic.twitter.com/GDpLwA2i5m

— TGA Australia (@TGAgovau) October 13, 2021

“Currently, COMIRNATY is provisionally approved for use in individuals 12 years of age or older. The granting of this determination means that Pfizer is now eligible to apply to vary the provisional approval for the vaccine to include children aged 5 to 11 years.

“This provisional determination is the first step in the process and does not mean that an application for variation has been made by the sponsor – or that any such variation will be provisionally approved by the TGA.

“In making its decision to grant Pfizer a provisional determination for use in individuals 5 to 11 years, the TGA considered eligibility criteria, including factors such as the evidence of a plan to submit comprehensive clinical data in relation to use in this age group – and the seriousness of the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Twist after woman carried virus into SA

There was speculation last week that a woman who carried Covid-19 into South Australia was not being completely truthful. Now, that has been confirmed by authorities in Victoria.

Bear with us for this one. The story takes some twists and turns.

The woman, in her 40s, tested positive to Covid-19 in the South Australian city of Mt Gambier on October 1.

She told authorities that she had not left the border bubble and had only travelled as far into Victoria as Casterton. The news led to restrictions being put in place in Mt Gambier, Wattle Range and Grant, as well as a reduction in the border bubble from 70km to 30km.

Days later, the woman, who is a mother-of-four, had her car set on fire in what authorities called a targeted arson attack.

The car torched at Mount Gambier in what police say was a targeted attack on a Covid-19-infected mum who had visited Victoria. Picture 7NEWS
The car torched at Mount Gambier in what police say was a targeted attack on a Covid-19-infected mum who had visited Victoria. Picture 7NEWS

Today, it has been revealed that the woman was not being truthful when she spoke with authorities.

Victoria’s Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar has revealed to the ABC that the woman travelled into Melbourne where she became infected.

“My understanding of the Mount Gambier case, there was actually a traveller from Melbourne who travelled allegedly to Mount Gambier and was detected as positive there,” Mr Weimar said.

Victorian authorities added that there was no evidence the woman had visited Casterton at all.

‘Might be issues’: Key NSW freedom could be delayed

There are concerns one of the most sought-after freedoms could be delayed in NSW, despite the state quickly closing in on its 80 per cent vaccination goal.

NSW could reach the 80 per cent double jab rate this weekend, which would see a raft extra of restrictions ease from Monday.

One of the long-awaited freedoms outlined in the road map is allowing regional travel for Greater Sydney residents.

However, there is speculation this freedom could be delayed to allow regional areas time to raise their vaccination rates.

Premier Dominic Perrottet addresses the media during a press conference in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard
Premier Dominic Perrottet addresses the media during a press conference in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard

“We said, it will be the Monday following where we hit that 80 per cent, that’s the commitment that we’ve made. That’s the commitment that we will sustain,” Premier Dominic Perrottet said.

“So we need to look at that. There might be some other issues that come through that. I will work through that with the cabinet ministers tomorrow with our economic and health teams. And we should be able to provide a clearer update at back end of this.”

Mr Perrottet said NSW wasn’t expected to hit the 80 per cent milestone so quickly and there has been “concerns raised about regional NSW”.

“I have not had many discussions with my ministerial colleagues in relation to that aspect, yet. We are having that meeting tomorrow. That will be an issue that will be discussed,” he said.

“It’s something that’s on the table and it will obviously be part of the discussions tomorrow. And we don’t want to speculate in terms of what that day will be.”

NSW Nationals Leader Paul Toole said just last week that the state was “weeks away” from allowing travel into the regions.

“We also need to make sure when it is discussed tomorrow that we are protecting regional NSW,” he said.

Tasmania records new Covid case

Tasmania has recorded one new Covid-19 case after a man travelled from Melbourne and allegedly breached hotel quarantine.

The man was sent into government mandated quarantine after arriving in Hobart but authorities claim it was later discovered he had left the hotel.

He was tracked down at a home in the outer northern suburbs by police yesterday afternoon, with his positive Covid result being returned on Wednesday morning.

Genomic sequencing has not yet confirmed which variant the man has, but officials day it is “very likely” he has the Delta strain.

Speaking to reporters, Premier Peter Gutwein said the man was not supposed to be in the community.

“A 31-year-old New South Wales man arrived in Tasmania via Melbourne on Monday evening, despite his to go pass having been refused,” the Premier said.

“He was placed in quarantine at the hotel in Hobart that night, the following welfare check undertaken by security on Tuesday afternoon he was found not to be in his room. The police were immediately notified and tried to locate him.

“Late yesterday afternoon he was located in the northern suburbs of Hobart by police. He was immediately returned to hotel quarantine and additional security was allocated to him. The man has been tested overnight and through this morning for Covid-19.

“It has been confirmed that he has returned a positive result … It bothers me greatly that when the vast majority of Tasmanians do the right thing, day in and day out, people will put others at risk … The 31-year-old will receive two fines totalling just over $3000, one for breaching quarantine and one for attempting to enter the state without necessary approvals.”

Hobart Airport is now listed as an exposure site.

#BREAKING: The following have been declared COVID-19 exposure sites in Hobart on Monday. People need to quarantine immediately for 14 days.

➡️ Hobart Airport arrivals area male bathroom 9:10-15pm

➡️ Hobart Airport male bathroom 9:25-30pm

➡️ Jetstar flight JQ715 on Monday night

— Monte Bovill (@MonteBovill) October 13, 2021

ACT recorded 51 cases, introduces new vax mandates

The ACT recorded 51 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, 22 of which were infectious while in the community.

The ACT also announced it will be mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for a range of education settings, in order to “help to reassure parents of children under 12 – and particularly vulnerable children – that everything possible is being done to reduce the risk of Covid-19 as we go back to school & early childhood education and care.”

The new mandate covers teachers, early childhood educations, learning and support staff, admin staff, canteen workers, cleaners in direct contact with kids, allied health professionals who regularly attend schools and education students on placements.

People in these categories will be required to have their first dose of the vaccine by November 1 and be fully vaccinated by November 29.

Good news for Victoria despite deadly day

Victorians have been offered a sliver of good news despite recording the deadliest day of this outbreak so far.

The state is on track to reach its 70 per cent double vaccination target sooner than expected, though health authorities have refused to say whether this means Victorians planned freedoms will be brought forward as well.

However, this morning Veterans Minister Shaun Leane told reporters restrictions would “absolutely” ease as soon as the vaccination goal was reached.

About 60.4 per cent of Victorians over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, with at least 86.2 per cent having had their first dose.

The state was originally predicted to hit the 70 per cent vaccination goal on October 26, but is now expected to reach the milestone a few days earlier on Friday, October 22.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media outside Parliament House. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media outside Parliament House. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

This means restrictions could ease just before next weekend, with some of the key changes for vaccinated residents, including:

• Removing the stay-at-home orders for lockdown areas of Victoria

• Allowing 10 fully vaccinated residents to gather outdoors in Melbourne

• Reopening pubs, clubs and entertainment venues with different capacity limits for metropolitan and regional areas

• Reopening hairdressing and other personal care services

• Beginning the return to face-to-face learning for students.

Mr Leane’s comments come after Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday that he would be looking to ease restrictions “as close to when we actually tick over the 70 per cent as possible”.

Chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton on Tuesday said the decision to ease restrictions wasn’t “critically linked to a specific single figure” and refused to confirm whether hitting the 70 per cent mark would immediately trigger new freedoms.

‘Thought I was going to die’: Girl’s harrowing Covid ordeal

A Victorian teenager has recounted her terrifying ordeal being put into a coma while battling Covid-19.

Saela, a 17-year-old VCE student from Hume, contracted Covid-19 in August after there was an outbreak at her sister’s daycare.

At the time, Saela was too young to be vaccinated and, as a result, suffered horrendous symptoms.

In the second week of her illness she was struggling to breathe and became so ill that her family had to call an ambulance.

“I sat alone in the ambulance and I had never been in an ambulance before. I said goodbye to my family. I was so scared and lonely,” she said.

“My health progressively got worse and then one night I couldn’t stop coughing. I was struggling to breathe. The day before, they said I had pneumonia. I had no idea it was. I felt so many needles. I couldn’t catch my next breath.

“There was commotion around me. I didn’t know what was going on. I was so scared, I thought I was going to die and then I felt nothing. They had put me to sleep. They woke me up nine days later.”

Saela said when she woke up she had a tube coming out of her neck and she was scared to go back to sleep.

“There was so much machines around me, so many wires and needles, so much beeping and everything made me scared. I was broken. None of this was fair,” she said.

“With each passing day, I slowly got better. I started breathing on my own and five days later, I waved goodbye to the ventilator.

“My strength was coming back. I had to learn to walk again. I cried every day but I worked very hard on my recovery so I could be home for the AFL grand final, which I was.”

Victoria records 1571 cases and 13 deaths

Victoria has recorded 1571 locally acquired Covid cases and 13 deaths in the 24 hours to midnight.

That’s the highest number of daily fatalities the state has seen during this outbreak.

Reported yesterday: 1,571 new local cases and 1 case acquired overseas.

- 38,072 vaccines administered

- 79,200 test results received

- Sadly, 13 people with COVID-19 have died

More later: https://t.co/OCCFTAchah#COVID19Vic#COVID19VicDatapic.twitter.com/sAvebf8lrc

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) October 12, 2021

NSW records 444 cases and four deaths

NSW has recorded 444 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

NSW #COVID19 UPDATE – Wednesday 13 October 2021

In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:

- 90.8% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

- 75.2% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine

- 105,508 tests in the last 24 hours pic.twitter.com/EKpOWnUWpS

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) October 12, 2021

NSW could have even more freedoms by Monday

Vaccinated NSW residents could be enjoying even more freedoms next week. A massive surge in Covid vaccinations could see the state hit hits 80 per cent jab target sooner than expected.

Federal government figures on Tuesday showed 75.23 per cent of adults in the state are now fully vaccinated and 90.77 per cent have had one dose.

This means NSW could be on track to hits its 80 per cent goal by the weekend, an achievement that would trigger a raft of eased restrictions from Monday, October 18 – a week earlier than the projected October 25 date.

Premier Dominic Perrottet (R) and Deputy Premier Paul Toole drink a beer before holding a media conference on October 11. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
Premier Dominic Perrottet (R) and Deputy Premier Paul Toole drink a beer before holding a media conference on October 11. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Freedom Day 2.0 will see up to 20 visitors to a home, regional travel allowed for Greater Sydney residents, and masks no longer required in outdoor settings.

Residents will also be able to stand while drinking at indoor venues, dancing will be permitted indoors and outdoors (except at nightclubs) and major recreation facilities – such as stadiums, theme parks and racecourses – can open with density limits of up to 5000 people.

The revelation of NSW’s vaccine surge comes just three days after new freedoms kicked in for vaccinated residents, including reopening hospitality venues and businesses, reopening gyms and allowing household visitors.

‘End it today’: Queensland turns on Anna

Tensions have reached boiling point in Queensland, with desperate business owners turning on Premier Annastacia Palas­zczuk over her tough border stance.

Ms Palas­zczuk has refused repeated calls to release a road map to reopening with NSW and Victoria, even suggesting removing tough border restrictions when 80 per cent of Aussies were fully vaccinated would be a “backwards” step.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is seen during a press conference to provide a Covid update. Picture: NCA NewsWire /Dan Peled
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is seen during a press conference to provide a Covid update. Picture: NCA NewsWire /Dan Peled

Head of Industry body AI Group in Queensland, Rebecca Andrews, told The Courier Mail that the Queensland government should “today end the vague and conflicting messages” around reopening borders.

“Talking vaguely of a Christmas reopening schedule and then upping the ante on vaccination targets is far from the circuit-breaker announcement the government needs to deliver to encourage people to get the jab,” she said.

Owner of The Breakers holiday apartments at Broadbeach, Michael Stephens, accused the Premier of not caring about struggling businesses.

He told the publication thar his occupancy rates have dropped from 85 per cent to five per cent and many of his Christmas bookings have been cancelled.

“She gets up every morning and is acting like this is a State of Origin game,” Mr Stephens said.

“We are not just Queenslanders, we are Australians.”

Queensland health workers hold crisis meeting

Queensland healthcare workers held a crisis meeting yesterday calling for health reform and increased funding across for hospitals across the state.

The crisis talks were held outside of Ipswich Hospital, with Secretary of the Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union, Beth Mohle, saying there are fears the hospital system won’t cope with a NSW or Victorian style Delta outbreak.

“I know our members right now are watching what’s happening down south in NSW, ACT and Victoria with the pressure that’s being placed on their systems because of the Covid outbreaks and Delta outbreaks in particular, with a sense of anticipatory grief,” she told 4BC.

“What they are worried about is how well would the system cope if that comes up here.”

Kmart’s tough new Covid rule for NSW

Kmart has confirmed that unvaccinated customers will not be permitted to shop at NSW stores unless they have a medical exemption.

Chief executive John Gualtieri said he was announcing the move in line with NSW Government regulations.

People lining up at Kmart in Blacktown on freedom day as restrictions eased. Picture: Jonatham Ng
People lining up at Kmart in Blacktown on freedom day as restrictions eased. Picture: Jonatham Ng

“As per the NSW Government requirement, customers will need to show proof that they are fully Covid-19 vaccinated, unless a medical exemption applies,” Mr Gualtieri said in the note to shoppers. “We ask for your patience and support as we roll this new process out across our store network.”

The announcement comes has customers continue to flock to Kmart, with one Sydney store experiencing a 200m checkout queue just to purchase items.

Photos and videos of wild scenes at Kmart have attracted criticism, with people arguing the footage shows shoppers not abiding by social distancing rules.

– Hannah Paine

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