Unvaccinated May Not See Freedoms Until 2022: Australian State Leader Warns

Message to unvaccinated: Don't try to 'wait it out'
By Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
October 19, 2021 Updated: October 19, 2021

Australian state leader Daniel Andrews is warning unvaccinated residents of Victoria that their “freedoms” may not be made available until “well and truly into 2022.”

The announcement comes as neighbouring state New South Wales (NSW), the most populous in Australia, is set to remove most government-mandated restrictions for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on Dec. 1.

When questioned on whether he would follow a similar path, Andrews said Victorians thinking they could “wait it out” were mistaken.

“For example, the Grand Prix is in April, I don’t think there will be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed,” he told reporters on Oct. 19.

“Please don’t play the game of, ‘Let’s just wait this out and then we will be able to do everything we want to do.’ No, that will not be the case,” he said. “If you make that choice, it will be a very long wait, and you will not out-wait this virus.”

“The virus will be here for a long time and your only protection against it as being vaccinated,” he said. “This will be well into 2022.”

He was also asked how long vaccine passport systems would be in operation.

“Why would you get the system going, and then essentially pull it all down,” he said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me, in any event, and we will not be doing that here.”

Gideon Rozner, director of policy at the Melbourne-based free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, was critical of Andrews’ position calling it the “most anti-freedom COVID restrictions” in the country.

“While states like NSW have a firm end date for their vaccine passport regimes, Andrews threatens us with one indefinitely,” he told The Epoch Times in an email.

“Vaccination should be a choice for every Australian in consultation with their family doctor. Under no circumstances should the state use economic coercion to force free citizens to undergo any medical procedure,” he added. “Making basic freedoms contingent on medical status would set a disturbing, harmful precedent.”

The premier’s comments come as Victoria approaches the 70 percent vaccination benchmark for its population, which will see the state government this week undo certain restrictions including curfews.

After the new Premier of NSW Dominic Perrottet began accelerating the state’s roadmap to freedom—including completely scrapping the need to quarantine for vaccinated travellers—other states have followed suit in easing their restrictions.

On Oct. 18, the Victorian government removed the need for hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers, but still maintained the need for quarantine at home.

Over the course of the pandemic, the predominant narrative surrounding how to manage COVID-19 has focused on heavy restrictions on residents, including lockdowns and domestic border closures.

However, the onset of the Delta strain of the virus in July in Sydney and Melbourne has seen a steady shift away from tough controls on the population towards increasing vaccination rates and gradually opening up the country.