October 20, 2021
Cherbourg Mayor Elvie Sandow and fellow councillors have almost begged residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to stop the community going back into lockdown.
In an emotional media conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Sandow said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had set the date for the re-opening of Queensland’s borders.
When 80 per cent of Queenslanders are vaccinated – expected to be by December 17 or even earlier – Queensland borders will re-open to both interstate travellers and foreign arrivals.
But at the current rate of vaccinations, Cherbourg will not reach this 80 per cent target until midway through next year, which means more lockdowns are looming for the community should an outbreak occur in the State.
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“We are really encouraging our mob to go and get vaccinated,” Mayor Sandow said.
“I know people have got their different views on it but at the end of the day we want to keep our community and our families safe. We need you guys to have the vaccination, please!
“We only need once case in Cherbourg and it could just wipe our community out.”
Mayor Sandow said people did not like the checkpoint or the army coming in – which is what happened when Cherbourg was put into lockdown in 2020.
“You’ve got to think about all these things and c’mon! Come on this journey with us! At the end of the day it’s about keeping our community safe, and our little people, too,” she said.
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Deputy Mayor Tom Langton emphasised that COVID was here to stay.
“But if you want freedom and don’t want lockdown, we all got to get vaccinated,” Cr Langton said.
“I and the other councillors all got vaccinated. There’s no side effects. We haven’t had any side effects. So c’mon my community, get vaccinated!”
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Cr Leighton Costello addressed rumours that have been sweeping the South Burnett since the sudden death of his father, Bevan Costello Snr, recently.
Mr Costello had been the public face of the vaccination campaign in Cherbourg, appearing in media interviews encouraging people to get vaccinated.
“My father did not pass away from the COVID-19 vaccination,” Cr Costello emphasised.
“Dad, my father Bevan Costello Snr, had a history of chronic illness. Leading up to his death, he was ill for a few weeks and passed away sadly from natural causes, which was a heart attack.
“Dad was an advocate for the community of Cherbourg getting vaccines.”
He said his father wanted everyone in Cherbourg to get vaccinated.
Cr Costello said there were 849 people in Cherbourg eligible to get the vaccine, but only 206 people were double vaccinated.
He said there was a time coming when only people who had been vaccinated would be approved to enter some establishments.
“It’s coming … so this is the last chance for a lot of people out there to get vaccinated. We want our community to be safe,” Cr Costello said.
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Cr Fred Cobbo said he had been vaccinated and he had made sure his family members and teenage grandchildren had also been vaccinated.
“I don’t want to go through sorry business with COVID,” Cr Cobbo said.
“We’ve already been through a lot of sorry business through other community issues. Please encourage your families, come along and get vaccinated.
“I don’t want to go into lockdown because a number of people don’t want to get vaccinated.
“We are going to go into a lockdown, trust me, if it breaks out in Queensland in December.
“I got vaccinated. I just want the rest of the community to come on board and get vaccinated!”
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Cr Bronwyn Murray said she cared about the members of the Cherbourg community, and she felt it was part of her job as a community leader to try to keep the community safe.
“We’ve been speaking to government reps and they are saying things like lockdowns will be put in place if the vaccination of people doesn’t go ahead and we stay at these low rates,” Cr Murray said.
“We don’t want that for our community! We’ve already had restrictions in the past in the olden days.
“So we want you to come forward to get the vaccination done – to protect yourself, to protect your families. Get your children done as well.
“We don’t want those restrictions to come upon us and we don’t want death for our community.
“You can imagine if COVID got into our community. All hell and chaos will break loose!”
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Video from Wednesday’s media conference, courtesy Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council: