Australia should refuse entry to ‘selfish’ visitors without vaccine – expert

The Australian Government should declare COVID-19 vaccinations a mandatory requirement to enter Australia, but Australians don’t all need the vaccine, according to one of Queensland’s top immunology experts.

Nov 25, 2020, updated Nov 25, 2020

Griffith University Infectious Diseases and Immunology Professor Nigel McMillan said Australia needed to be protected from carriers from both global COVID-19 hotspots and members of the “selfish generation” at home and abroad who refused to be vaccinated.

“This is a worldwide problem. This virus is everywhere and we are not getting rid of it,” McMillan said.

“If one country chooses not to vaccinate, then we are going to have ring-fence Australia.

“And I would suggest that a condition of entry to Australia will be vaccination for this disease. It would be a sensible decision for our government to make to allow us to keep being part of the world.”

Qantas has become the first airline in the world to indicate it is considering making proof of a valid COVID vaccination a requirement to fly internationally.

However, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government had not yet made a decision on a “vaccine passport”.

McMillan, who is also program director of the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, said a government-enforced requirement for all national border arrivals would stop carriers from countries that had not successfully suppressed the pandemic.

Speaking to interviewer Kerry O’Brien as part of a Griffith University conversation series held at Home of the Arts (HOTA) on the Gold Coast, McMillan said the no jab, no travel requirement would also trap possible carriers who chose not to access available vaccines.

“It’s this selfish generation in a sense, where it’s all about me and I’m not buying into helping others,” McMillan said.

“That’s not everyone of course, but there’s this sort of American stubbornness around it’s my way or the highway.”

Social researcher and expert on social trends, Dr Rebecca Huntley, said the travel requirement may also catch local anti-vaxxers.

She said a possible minority backlash against getting vaccinated against COVID could have far reaching implications.

“Even though immunisation generally is widely supported by the community, there is a destructive hard core group of people who are anti-vaccination. I’m really concerned about the damage they can do when we do have a vaccine available for COVID,” Huntley said.

However, McMillan said Australia’s successful coronavirus response meant the population did not have to be 100 per cent vaccinated against the virus.

“We would really like about 70 per cent of the population to be vaccinated. This will stop the virus circulating around and affecting those people who can’t be vaccinated, because we have some people who just can’t be vaccinated.

“We don’t need 100 per cent of people to be vaccinated. From an infectious diseases point of view that’s ok.”

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