Covid-19 vaccines should become compulsory and a “vaxport” that carries proof of the jab should be introduced to avoid a national “health and economic catastrophe”, a South Australian politician says.
SA Best MLC Frank Pangallo said both the federal and state governments needed to “immediately” make vaccinations mandatory for all Australians over 18 for workplaces, travel and people attending public and hospitality venues.
He recommended the “vaxport” be used as a way for authorities to easily identify who had been vaccinated, and those who refused to get the jab should have their movements in the community “controlled and restricted”.
The federal government has not suggested the Covid-19 vaccine will ever be made mandatory.
The parliamentarian and former journalist has urged restrictions surrounding the vaccine program be lifted to allow individual Australians to decide what jabs they wanted without having to wait for eligibility.
A 12-week freeze on all international repatriation flights coming to Australia has also been called for.
Mr Pangallo said the nation was “on the cusp of a health and economic catastrophe” as the outbreaks in NSW and Victoria worsened.
“I understand people will think this is a rather drastic and draconian step, but this pandemic continues to evolve in ways and waves nobody can predict,” he said.
“Even the vaccines we do have do not seem to control its spread and those variants that are emerging — not just (the) Delta strain but the deadly Lambda variant from Peru.
“Hard times create strong leadership and strong leadership creates good times. This is what’s needed now. The pussyfooting around by Scott Morrison needs to stop.”
Mr Pangallo said vaccination rates were two months behind schedule because there was no longer a structured plan for the national rollout, with fear surrounding AstraZeneca compounding the issue.
As an example to follow, he said millions of people in France have since been vaccinated after the European country made the jabs mandatory.
“There are many who refuse to have AstraZeneca yet are prepared to take Pfizer or others that will come online eventually.
“Restrictions preventing people from receiving the vaccine of their choice need to be lifted immediately so we can get the vaccination rate surging.”
Mr Pangallo also said he hoped Australian political leaders did not make the same “mistake” as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson by lifting all restrictions in the nation solely based on vaccination rates.
He said that decision could expose the country and the rest of the world to new Covid-19 variants that may be vaccine resistant.