T Nation

Covid in Australia

Initially Australia had the response down pat, one draconian lockdown of moderate length seemed to sort us out adequately. We were the envy of the world.

Following a bungled vaccination rollout mediated by a failure to procure a diverse supply of vaccines, misguided advice surrounding astrazenica and mass complacency due to “zero covid” and it appears Australia has been left behind many countries we were initially many steps ahead of.

Discuss. Preferably let’s not dig into a “my state/country was better than yours” contest, rather let’s compare and contrast different policies, outcomes and extrapolate upon Australia’s future for economic prosperity (or lack thereof) and the likes

Not sure how many people will comment on the things we do down under but I guess there are a few of us still lurking around here that this has directly impacted. For me I think you touched on the critical point when you mention the complacency due to “zero covid” . A lot of people spent so long looking at how bad the rest of the world was doing and felt ‘safe’. It was like we thought that by having no cases we could wait it out and it would all go away. This ostrich or maybe Emu head in the sand approach has come back and is biting us on the butt.
It is interesting to note the sudden change in people opinion about wanting to get vaccinated and how this in turn is linked to getting a new outbreak and a lockdown. First it was Melbourne (VIC), Then suddenly the lock downs and desire to get a vaccine rolled through the other states in turn. Its almost like it needed to happen in each state to get people off the couch and lining up to get the jab. It seems now people are finally catching on that this is something that wont go away and that mass vaccination seems to be the only path to getting back to a somewhat normal community and economy.

What I have learnt is that the policy/implementation/outcomes/whatever is heavily dependent on the specific situation of that location.

Australia, an enormous island of low population with a relatively obedient citizenship is different to a country which shares borders with others is small, has 75M people and has a more standoffish relationship with authority. You’re going to get different results doing the exact same thing.

The measure I think is important is how satisfied the people living in that location are with the approach and tradeoffs that need to be made.

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Agreed, Australians are incredibly obedient towards government authority when the issue at hand is purportedly for “the greater good”. You’d think our population would thus have a penchant for abstaining from vice, but the opposite tends to be true. I’m not stating we should “let it rip” quite yet, as the proportion of our population that is vaccinated pales comparative to other Western countries. Hospitals would still overflow, economic strain would still be incurred as people would stop going to work for fear of getting sick.

But at a certain point we need to weigh up the cost of lockdowns vs opening up, looking at countries like UAE it appears no level of vaccination will maintain covid zero. There will be cases, there will be deaths; however it appears you can mitigate it to the point death rates are near or akin to influenza with mass vaccination. For those who are anti vax… why should we curb civil liberties for everyone because a designated minority refuse to protect themselves?

At the moment the Australian population appears to be scared of their own skin… deathly afraid of covid, plenty of vaccinated people in their 20’s and 30’s are terribly scared of catching it despite vaccines being highly, highly efficacious at reducing severe illness.

It appears very easy to sway/manipulate public opinion over here.

More than this, the federal government shot itself in the foot by promoting a campaign of what I consider fear mongering over astrazenica. Astrazeneca is a relatively safe and very effective vaccine. The risk of death from clotting after taking the shot is roughly less than that of a woman using hormonal contraceptives. Statistically one is more likely to die driving their car as opposed to taking astrazenica.

But Australia doesn’t have a no fault clause for astrazenica, the worry was people would sue and therefore the vaccine was “restricted” to only those above the age of fifty. Then ATAGI came out and said “only above sixty”. I use quotation marks for “restricted” as someone could still go to their GP and request to be given astrazenica, this is what I did. Most patients received a bit of pushback as no GP wants to be help accountable in the rare instance complications develop.

Now every media outlet was reporting any case of astrazenica mediated complications, the problem was we only had astrazenica and a TINY amount of Pfizer, with more due to arrive from now through to the end of the year. Notwithstanding the federal and state governments are all quiet about Pfizer/myocarditis… ALL vaccines have very rare and potentially serious complications, Astrazenica just happens to perhaps harbour a slightly higher risk than some other contemporary vaccines; but the risk is still relatively minuscule in scale.

Now we have covid, young adults my age are refusing to get astrazenica because “they’ll get a vaccine at the end of the year” but they’re willing to smoke, vape, binge drink, pop untested random pills and more. The poor risk assessment capabilities within my demographic astound me. Vaccine timeframes are being booked up fast, even if you can only book a slot in September it’s better to do that as opposed to needing to wait until January. I wouldn’t be surprised if vaccine incentives start up at some point. You don’t want to be the one missing every AFL game/concert/public event because you aren’t vaccinated…

When covid broke out again the PM of Aus made a statement signifying all young people can and should check with their GP’s as to whether astrazenica would be appropriate for them. As a result ATAGI came out and said “no, too risky” and the Queensland premier made the horrendous choice of publicly talking about how she can’t condone the advice for the event a young adult has a clotting event.

As a result mass vaccine hesitancy has developed, with around 30% not planning to receive a vaccination. Blood clots/myocarditis associated with Pfizer = fine but astrazenica was the big bad wolf. Initial targets would have had international travel back on the map by the end of this year, now we are looking at lockdowns until the end of this year

I’d vote for Anthony Albanese but he’s stated his plan to open up Australia revolves around our ability to locally produce mRNA vaccines. An early timeframe for that is 2023… nooooopppe

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What’s more, we are now jailing people who walk around with covid/break quarantine. I’m aware of the downstream effects/potentially being culpable for deaths.

But could you imagine this happening anywhere else (democratic, secular societies)?

Daniel Andrews is trying to table permeant pandemic legislature, does this legislature mean more laws are to bypass parliament permenantly? I’m no expert, but the potential erosion of our democracy is somewhat concerning to me.

This is deff a concern. Add tot his those who will ‘probably get it, but are waiting’ and you get a much bigger number. I had a conversation with someone at work who are that category. When I asked what they were waiting for they really couldn’t answer. Either they are waiting for enough people to have it that they feel comfortable it is safe, or they are waiting for a better option, which is highly unlikely to happen, or they are waiting for covid to disappear which is certainly not going to happen. I understand the concern around new vaccines and the lack of time for development and testing but what really are the other viable options.

We need to allow business to trade and allow the economy to recover. Continuous lockdowns where a large % of the population are able to earn an income and are not properly supported is not sustainable in the long run.

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I’d be more sympathetic towards this cause if it weren’t for

  • the fact they’ve undergone phase I, II, and III clinical trials
    AND
  • we have postmarking reports

They’re safe, the primary reason I’m so irritated by these prolonged lockdowns is because everyone has had the opportunity to take astrazenica. Political fear-mongering interwoven with media hysteria has put people off, but they’ve still had the opportunity. Why should I remain stuck in my house because other people refuse to get vaccinated? That’s on them is it not?

The only “better” options you might receive are Moderna and Pfizer. I use quotations because they aren’t actually safer, our media narrative simply hasn’t reported on the very rare instances of SAE’s associated with them.

I swear… if our federal government suddenly starts going on about the myocarditis issue… I don’t think they will, this is their one and only “plan B”

Is this really true? I just had my second Pfizer jab but did not consider nor was I offered az. When the first reduced the age bracket to under 50’s I found it extremely hard to get a slot to even get my first jab and there was certainly no avenue for me to chose something other than Pfizer?

Yes, all adults can now receive Astrazenica if they wish to under a scheme that gives GP’s relative immunity in the very rare event a complication develops.

You either vaccinate 100% of the population, vaccinate a big proportion and let the others catch COVID or you have ongoing restrictions to protect the unvaccinated

Seems you are going down the last path.

Interesting that is was available yet little to no local information shared to that effect and GP’s certainly not being proactive and contacting patients. In the UK both my parent were vaccinated by the local GP with the GP notifying and proactively booking them in when the vaccine was available. No such thing here with people left to book via a national hotline that you couldn’t access or an online system that initially didn’t exist.

Question is, when does it end?

This “start” “stop” cascade of snap lockdowns isn’t sustainable. We either vaccinate or keep locking down until the economy collapses and/or riots break out (that I’d never take a part in, no point in ruining my life over this; not to mention the senseless damage they impart).

I worry regarding how much debt I’m going to end up paying off out of my income down the line due to the incompetency of our federal and state governments at this point. We already have fairly high rates of taxation.

Our vaccine rollout has been incredibly lacklustre comparative to the rest of the developed world.

A lackluster advertising campaign, no incentives, little communication between GP’s and patients etc.

It’s comically almost if the aim was to ensure the population remained unvaccinated. Obviously this isn’t the case, economically/financially the consequences from prolonged shut downs will be dire.

It was this and then its seems someone changed their mind, because all of a sudden states were going into lockdown and the the queues at the vaccine centers suddenly appeared. Odd!!

I don’t know why so many are holding onto the pipe dream this is going to disappear anytime soon.

I suppose people don’t wish to change their outlook as doing so would dash future expectations for unregulated tourism and the likes

But no, we’ve had it easy for a few decades now… I doubt things will ever go back to “the way they were”. Western society, for all its benefits, was advancing in a manner that was somewhat unsustainable. This has been a sobering hit.

The benefits of western society in my opinion far exceed that of theocracies and the likes, but admittedly the mass tourism, hikes in property prices etc… It wasn’t sustainable. I expect the property market in Aus will crash at the point wherein no one can legitimately afford to put a lease on a house.

If your politicians are talking about passing permanent laws, I’d say that answers your question about when it ends

With pfizer now coming in at 1m doses a week, things will ramp up you’d imagine.

Govt then phases out AZ once Moderna comes on board…

Our government just leans on ‘best medical advice’, so if something goes pear shaped they’ve got someone else to blame.

It’ll be early to mid next year before things open up re international people movements I’d suspect. But I’m not hanging my hat on it.

It’s important (imo) to not have a ‘set date’ for when things will open up and return to some kind of normalcy, otherwise you may well be disappointed. When government’s involved it’s a slow moving beast to get anything done. And any promise of a timeframe from the government will be subject to so many factors that if one of those isn’t met they’ve got a fall back stance.

We will continue to export goods, so I don’t see the economy coming to a crashing halt, but lockdowns definitely aren’t good for business, mental health, etc of the general populace.

Somehow I don’t think it’ll go through as is. They tried to pass “indefinite detention laws” for covid related offences last year if I recall correctly but public uproar over it caused that portion of the bill passed to be scrapped.

I’m going to see if I can get a third Astrazenica as a booster after I get my second dose.

Soon to be even more than this!

Agreed, as a matter of fact I’m tending to think Scott Morrison might base the federal election on this “I’m opening up, I’m your saviour!”