ATAGI call on third booster will decide Australia’s reopening fortunes

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A lot is hanging on what the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI) has to say about a third booster jab, with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at loggerheads with the Federal Government about what constitutes being fully vaccinated.

The Federal Government says the current two jab policy is enough for overseas visitors coming to Australia, but Andrews has been pushing to redefine fully vaccinated as three jabs for anyone wanting to enter Victoria.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already stated that two jabs “is sufficient”, a position backed by Tourism Minister Dan Tehan.

“The best way to support our tourism recovery is to make travelling in Australia as easy as possible for visitors – that means removing barriers to travel and cutting red tape,” Tehan told The Herald Sun

Andrews is pinning his hopes on ATAGI backing his call for three doses.

“All the international evidence, all the advice I get from our team is that three doses is what’s required in order to be as safe as it can be,” said Andrews.

“They (ATAGI) must be getting very close to making that decision. We’ve got a national cabinet meeting on Thursday. Hopefully we can receive it before then or at that meeting.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her state will follow ATAGI’s lead.

“We will be keeping to double vaccination requirement unless ATAGI changes that to including the booster,” Palaszczuk said.

“We’ve been going through a really tough time with tourism… a lot of our state is heavily reliant on tourism, so the fact that in 12 days borders will be open, that is welcome news for businesses that have really been struggling.”