ATAGI is anticipated to deliver its verdict on the definition of “fully vaccinated” today, as premiers and the Federal Government remain at odds over entry requirements for tourists.
With the international border set to re-open from February 21, the Federal Government has said fully vaccinated travellers – those who had received two doses of an Australia-approved vaccine – will be allowed in.
But Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated he could seek to impose restrictions on visitors who have not had a booster shot – currently available only in a minority of countries.
It has also been reported that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk could join him, despite having previously called for more support for the state’s struggling tourism industry.
Cairns boat trip operator Perry Jones said the reports had left him “nearly in tears”.
He told Today he supported booster shots but that making them mandatory would mean “death” for tourism.
“We’ve got to start living with it. Let’s be adults now, understand that we’ve got to live with this like we live in the flu and live with the cold and stuff like,” he said.
But the head of the Queensland AMA has issued a cautious backing to the idea of only letting in triple-vaccinated tourists.
Dr Chris Perry said while such a move seemed “unnecessary” at this point, it could be “a smart move into the future”.
“We are probably going to see other variants come,” he said.
“And if we have bad ones coming in the future, we will need the vaccines to be updated.”
Meanwhile, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet has stayed tight-lipped on whether he would join his Victorian counterpart in demanding a three-dose vaccine mandate for tourists.
Mr Perrottet told Today he would await advice from ATAGI and would advocate for “national consistency”.
“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,” Mr Perrottet said.
“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.”