More than 250,000 unvaccinated Western Australians have been urged to roll up their sleeves to get the jab after Premier Mark McGowan unveiled the state's roadmap to reopening today, with plans to ease border restrictions once 90 per cent of the population aged 12 and over is double-dose vaccinated.
The Premier said modelling indicated that milestone would likely be hit in late January or early February 2022, although there is potential for the threshold to be met earlier or later depending on vaccination rates.
"Once we hit 80 per cent and then set the specific date for transition, that date will be locked in to provide everyone with the certainty they need to plan ahead and be prepared for the next stage of this pandemic," McGowan said, noting this announcement would likely be made in December.
"As far as world standards go a rate of 90 per cent will be an amazing achievement, but I've always believed we can strive high and get the best result for our state, and given the current vaccination rate these targets are realistic and within our sights.
"It is a statewide vaccination rate, however if there are there are regional areas that don't have a high enough vaccination rates, then pending health advice at that time, intrastate borders to protect those specific regions may need to be introduced."
He noted the modelling indicated the decision to open up at a 90 per cent rather than 80 per cent rate would likely save 200 lives.
Once the transition begins, face masks will be required in high-risk indoor settings including public transport, hospitals and aged care facilities, while proof of vaccination will be required to attend nightclubs, the casino and large events with crowds of more than 1,000 people.
"Contact registers and the use of SafeWA will still be required at all public venues, as will revised COVID event and safety plans, and entry will be restricted to emote Aboriginal communities where necessary," the Premier said.
"These safeguards will complement our vaccination rollout. They will be interim, they won't last forever, but they will put us in the best position in case of an outbreak."
At that date travel will be permitted from all jurisdictions across Australia with double-dose vaccination requirements for arrivals from interstate, as well as the need to return a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to departure and take another test within 48 hours of arrival.
"International arrivals won't be subject to quarantine if they're double-dose vaccinated, but international arrivals who are not double-dose vaccinated will be required to complete 14 days of quarantine in a designated facility.
"I understand there will be disappointment for some. I acknowledge some people will be frustrated - they may not be able to be reunited with family from New South Wales or Victoria over Christmas.
"I know what that feels like. I understand. I won't be able to see my parents and my brother until the transition in late January or early February, but as difficult as it is, it is for the right reasons."
WA Health Minister Roger Cook emphasised younger people in particular would play an important part in reaching that goal, as currently less than 60 per cent of 30-somethings were fully vaccinated and only 45 per cent of those in their 20s had received two doses.
"Tell your friends, tell your mates, tell your brother, tell your sister - go and get vaccinated now. Do you really want your lifestyle to be cramped just because you couldn't bother to get vaccinated? Of course you don't, so don't hold everyone back," he said.
"We need two million Western Australians double dose vaccinated to reach 90 per cent, and at the moment 1.75 million have had one dose, and 1.4 million have had two doses, so we need 250,000 to get their first dose, and 600,000 more two doses."
Updated at 10:25am AWST on 5 November 2021.
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