Queenslanders have built up a substantial wall of immunity to COVID-19 ahead of a potential second wave in winter, but there are concerns older people aren’t coming forward for their booster shots.
The state recorded 12 virus deaths and 5178 new cases after 11,870 rapid antigen and PCR tests in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Tuesday.
Chief Health Officer John Gerrard says there are 663 virus patients in Queensland public hospitals and 42 in private hospitals, with another 22 people in intensive care.
With the current wave of infections having peaked last week, Dr Gerrard is now preparing for a potential second wave during the coming winter months.
“The reality is we don’t know, so this is the big mystery, and we’re all waiting to see what will happen,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“Clearly, there has been a substantial wall of immunity that has developed in the community through a combination of vaccinations boosters and natural infections, and particularly natural infection in that super spreading group of people in their 20s, and I’m sure that will create a significant protection going into winter.”
“So whether there will be a substantial secondary wave in winter or not is unclear.”
Of those who died of COVID-19 in the latest reporting period, one was in their 30s, two were in their 60s, two were in their 70s, three were in their 80s and four were in their 90s.
Nine of the 12 were in aged care, three were unvaccinated and none of the dead had had a booster vaccine.
Health minister Yvette D’Ath, pictured above, said fewer than 16 of the 160 people who have recently died in aged care had gotten their third jab, while the booster coverage for eligible people over 70 years was below the state’s overall coverage rate of 58.51 per cent.
The minister can’t see a reason for that, but she hopes older people and their loved ones will see the risks of delaying a booster and take action.
“We’ve said from day one that this is a virus that does particularly attack the elderly, and it significantly increases the risk factors … I don’t know the reason why people haven’t come out now in the older age group (for boosters), but I’m still optimistic that they will continue to do so,” D’Ath said.
“I strongly encourage family members to talk to their parents and grandparents and encourage them (to get their booster).”