July 24th, 2021

Numbat

Vaccination Rollout Australia

   A week ago I finally got my first vaccine dose (pfizer), after having reloaded the appointment webpages multiple times daily for months. I still wouldn't be eligible if I weren't a volunteer firefighter, general eligibility is only 40+ at this point. Currently 12.2% of Australians are fully vaccinated, which is a lower number than any other developed country and even India (US presently stands at 49.4%).

   Australia has been unusually successful with containing outbreaks with spot lockdowns, but I fear the government has come to rely on this method and it's given people the sense that covid is beatable and getting a vaccine may not be urgent. Also I fear that lockdowns will become less effective as people grow complacent and tired of them. (And there's currently an outbreak in the state of New South Wales which may be out of control (that being said, 1,563 current locally acquired cases, with 495 new cases in the last week would be a miraculously low number anywhere in the states)

   As with other issues, I will qualify that I live in rural Australia which may skew more conservative than in the cities, but nearly every conversation I've heard about the vaccine mentions "the bloodclots." Which remind you, you're more likely to get from flying on an airplane and nearly all these same people would willingly fly on an airplane. I'm not very plugged in to Australian news but there was a radio on near me at work the other day and while the host was urging people to get the vaccine, he never failed to mention "now there are risks and it's a choice you need to carefully consider, but I do think you should get the vaccine," a recommendation so qualified I think its more likely to encourage hesitency than vaccine-getting.

   A year ago I thought we'd be getting back to normal much faster here than America since we were barely hit by Covid, but it looks like due to the extremely lackluster vaccination rollout we are now way behind. International travel, which is of paramount importance to me, shows no sign of re-normalizing here in the forseeable future.