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‘Get vaccinated – It’s the only way out of this’

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Queensland appears to be tinkering on the edge of a major coronavirus outbreak as top officials warn it’s a matter of time before the state experiences rising case numbers as seen down south.

It has Cairns leaders rallying in support of a push for local business owners to organise group bookings for their staff to get the jab.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Mark Olsen says the only pathway to rebuild the economy is through widespread community vaccination.

“This community has one in five jobs supported by tourism, and the borders are closed to keep the community safe.

“The only way we can open the borders – state and national – is by vaccination,” Mr Olsen says.

A dedicated bulk-booking initiative has been set up to help businesses book in their staff at the vaccination hub held at the Cairns Convention Centre.

The centre is hosting a mass vaccination initiative over the next three weekends. It will be open this Friday and Saturday from 7am – 7pm, and Sunday from 8am – 4pm.

“Business owners get out there, roll up a sleeve and save a job,” he says.

Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service board chairman Clive Skarott says group walk-ins will be accepted too.

“What we would like to think is that businesses can bring all of their employees here – a bus load, a truck load, a car load.

“We will be able to accommodate them. All they need to do is walk in, and we’ll ensure they get vaccinated straight away.”

It comes as many of the country’s largest companies, such as Commonwealth Bank and BHP, have announced plans to run in-house vaccination programs for their staff.

Crown Resorts has revealed it is pushing for mandatory vaccinations for its 20,000 employees and could ban unvaccinated customers from its venues.

[Photo: supplied]