All Pfizer doses should go to Victoria and NSW

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VACCINES AND VACCINATION

All Pfizer doses should go to Victoria and NSW
Given the slowly unfolding COVID disaster in NSW (closely followed now by Victoria), how about we gather up every vaccine we have in Australia right now and send them to Melbourne and Sydney and immediately allocate all incoming deliveries of Pfizer, likewise, to Sydney and Melbourne?

The other states and territories do not have the same urgency and while they are likely to oppose such a strategy, maybe it’s time to hold the hose after all and protect the larger section of the population based on the immediate need.

While Sydney goes to hell in a hand basket (likely followed by Melbourne), the ACT is opening up Pfizer to the 30-39 cohort. The ACT hasn’t had a locally acquired COVID case since July last year. Amazing.
Adrian Ford, Soldiers Hill

Slow rollout leaves lockdown our only strategy
If we blame anyone or anything for these latest outbreaks of the Delta variant of COVID in NSW and Victoria, let’s blame the vaccination rollout, which, when coupled with the very effective scare campaign about the AstraZeneca vaccine with no effective counter-campaign from either the federal or state governments, means we are one of the least vaccinated countries in the developed world.

We simply cannot keep the virus out. And while the rest of the developed world is opening up despite increasing COVID numbers, our only strategy to protect the population remains lockdowns. Infuriating, disappointing and utterly frustrating.

So many happy plans gone pear-shaped for so many people.
Aila Copland, Mornington

Give those over 60 a choice of vaccine
How does the federal government expect over-60s to make an informed decision about vaccination if they are not given choice, and are denied access to the Pfizer vaccine? They are told: “You will have AstraZeneca, or you will have nothing.”

There continue to be newly confirmed and probable cases of the rare clotting syndrome associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The vast majority of cases are aged over 60.

A statement from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation on July 8 indicates the risk of developing the AstraZeneca clotting syndrome in Australia is estimated to be about 2.6 per 100,000 vaccines in those under 60, and 1.6 in those over 60. To me, these figures indicate only fractional statistical variation across age cohorts. I believe this is not enough to warrant the federal government denying over-60s access to the Pfizer vaccine. Let this group of people have access to Pfizer and watch them get vaccinated at the speed of light.
Sharon Rishel, Toorak

US President nails it
US President Joe Biden’s observation that “the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated” is about the most telling statement that has been seen regarding the importance of getting populations vaccinated (“Facebook hits back at Biden’s ‘killing’ claims”, The Age, 19/7).

This throwaway gem nails it and I hope it resonates with both our political leaders and the vaccine hesitant here in Australia.
Tony Devereux, Nunawading

Less talk, please, more action
It’s not the lockdowns we are going through that are to be railed against so harshly, it’s the virus, and if more people were vaccinated against COVID-19, lockdowns would hopefully be unnecessary.
The federal government is in charge of vaccinations and they should be feeling all the heat, but, at the moment it’s our states, particularly Victoria and now NSW, that are copping far too much of the flak.

It’s about time the feds took the blame for mishandling the urgency of the pandemic. Every effort needs to be put into getting people vaccinated rather than deflecting the issue and passing the buck to the states. Prime Minister, it’s time for less talk and more action. The health of Australians and their economic future is in your hands.
Diane Maddison, Parkdale

THE FORUM

Failures put into focus
My flight from Auckland to Melbourne on Friday brought the failures of the federal government’s COVID response into sharp focus.

Staying seated on the plane while Border Force completed their “assessments” we were given a lengthy announcement over the plane’s intercom extolling the virtues of staying 1.5 metres apart to protect against COVID.

It sounded like a police-state announcement, but I suppose these are different times.

Then the messaging became a mockery. After clearing Customs, we were herded into a narrow area around the baggage carousel, where perhaps 75 people could stay 1.5 metres apart. But two planes had arrived at the same time so the area was filled with at least 250 people jostling for their bags. Bizarrely, the same messaging from the plane was played over the airport intercom.

The exit from this area became chaotic as these 250 people were then hustled into a single queue to have their forms checked.

What is the point of making self-important messaging if it is not backed with practical crowd controls? Little wonder some people ignore what they are told.
Nigel Kirby, Hawthorn

It’s your job to…
Barnaby Joyce apparently wants to see the menu and prices for a net-zero carbon emissions plan, and likens this to choosing his lunch at a restaurant.

Well, as Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Joyce is more than simply a patron choosing a dish that suits his partisan appetite alone. Our present emissions offering is woefully inadequate and he should be leading in the design of our national menu.

Maybe he could watch a few episodes of MasterChef to see that cooks preparing menus have to actually do some work themselves to prepare menus and dishes to be served to a wide range of diners.
Paul Bolger, Eltham

… come up with a plan
Could someone please explain to Barnaby Joyce that he is the government, because, according to him on Insiders, he’s waiting for someone to present him with a plan and costings for tackling climate change.

For some reason, I thought that was the role of the present government, of which Mr Joyce is deputy leader.
Anne Maki, Alphington

The question ticks a box
The question on religion in the Australian census is not designed to measure how religious people are, whether they hold religious beliefs, are members of religious organisations or attend religious services (“Census time to mark ‘No Religion’”, Comment, 16/7).

Instead, it is a measure of religious identification, an important cultural marker, which in sociological research has been shown to be a very powerful predictor of many other attributes and behaviours.

It is for this reason that the Australian Bureau of Statistics and sociologists of religion like ourselves, experienced in working with census data, support the continued inclusion of the question in the census in its current form. We encourage people from a religious tradition not to overlook or exclude this important dimension of their identity when they are completing their census form.
Gary Bouma, Monash University, Robert Dixon, University of Divinity, Philip Hughes, Alphacrucis College, Andrew Singleton, Deakin University, Michael Mason

They all play a part
Your correspondent (“A narrow definition”, Letters, 19/7) would have us believe that unlike humanists and atheist organisations, religious organisations are doing the charity work in Australia.

Given the fact that atheists by nature do not have an organisation that they belong to, it does not stop them being members of charitable and voluntary organisations.

As for religious organisations having a monopoly on good deeds, organisations such as Lions, Apex, Rotary, Red Cross, Reach and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation are just a few non-religious organisations that spring readily to mind.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir

Ground these people
We “punish” innocent contacts of COVID cases with two weeks of isolation because they might spread the infection. Those who deliberately flout the lockdown rules are also putting us all at risk, but they are merely issued with an infringement notice and fine.

They are still free to re-offend and risk our lives. Surely a more effective and appropriate deterrent to lockdown rule-breaking would be two weeks of home isolation.
Harley Powell, Elsternwick

We will have to pay
Bravo, Ross Gittins (“Reality is catching up with freeloading climate deniers”, Business, 19/7), for calling out past foolish and short-sighted decisions to postpone action on reducing emissions.

This and previous Coalition governments, those who elected them and business now must face the reality that we have to pay one way or the other if we want to solve the problem of climate change.

Australians either pay a carbon tax (or similar) to our own government or the world will impose it on our exports, damaging our economy in the process. If a safe climate is to be maintained, we have to pay for it. This, at least, we owe to future generations.
Jen Evans, Blackburn South

They had to do it
Does your correspondent (“Government going the whole hog on lockdown”, Letters, 17/7) really believe the Victorian government declared a lockdown of rural and regional areas just “for the hell of it”?

If these regions were not locked down, there would have been a mass exodus of Melburnians to these areas before lockdown took effect, a number of them infected with COVID-19, bringing the pandemic with them, as is now evident with the growing number of cases and exposure sites in regional Victoria.

The whole-of-state lockdown is to protect the whole of the state.
Peter Neuhold, Elsternwick

Underpinned by science
Your correspondent (“Explain the 5km rule”, Letters, 17/7) questions the rationale for a five-kilometre travel limit.

In 1998, a paper in the journal Nature titled “The Collective Dynamics of ‘Small-World’ Networks” described a mathematical model of connected systems having a mix of short- and long-range connections.

Intuitively, one would think that where short-range connections dominate, it would be necessary to traverse a large number of connections to get between distant points in the system. What the model showed, however, is that a small number of random long-range connections will cover the whole network just as effectively.

The model explains the “six degrees of separation” phenomenon, whereby any two people are, on average, just six or fewer social connections from one another.

It also explains why the seemingly unlikely event of removalists bringing COVID-19 to Melbourne from a city with only a few hundred active cases is actually quite probable. It also explains why rapid spread of the virus across a wide geographical area may be effectively curtailed by cutting off longer-range connections.

I am not an epidemiologist, but I am confident there is sound science behind travel limits.
Mark Summerfield, Northcote

Anyone for a basic income?
Could all this squabbling over individual income support between states and federal governments have been solved by a universal basic income?

Maybe we should wait for a societal and economic shock to be able to make this easier to implement and to reduce the shock of change.

Wait a minute, aren’t we already in one?
Lou Piscopo, Ascot Vale

No more sports crowds
Please, Daniel Andrews, until we are out of the COVID woods, don’t allow crowds to attend sporting matches.

I think the morale boost that comes from attending a footy match is many times eclipsed by the damage done to psyches and businesses as a result of lockdowns.
Penny Hamilton, Shepparton

Stop repeating the question
Perhaps one of the core attractions of journalism is providing a channel between the corridors of power and the population as a whole.

As such, the role brings with it a high public expectation of intelligence, perception and an understanding of the subject.

As such I find it exasperating listening to journalists at press conferences continually needling officials about when the lockdown is going to end as though the answer is already known but being purposefully withheld.

Instead of the never-ending crusade to prove politicians lie, please show some understanding of the minute-by-minute nature of pandemic management and stop repeatedly asking about this.
Don Relf, Mentone

Questions must be asked …
Some serious questions must be asked as to how the far right British journalist Katie Hopkins was issued a visa and allowed to come into Australia when so many thousands of our citizens are stranded abroad.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris

… about how this happened
Katie Hopkins was permanently banned from Twitter for breaching the platform’s “hateful conduct” policy. She was sacked as a newspaper columnist and radio host in the UK for her anti-Islam and anti-immigration views.

So why did the Seven Network want her and why on earth was she granted a visa? Someone somewhere must accept responsibility.
Jill Rosenberg, Caulfield South

Present a unified front
If the latest outbreak/lockdown has shown us anything, it’s that we will only be taking one step forward, one step back unless the states make a genuine combined effort to change their mindset.

Your editorial (“Time now for all states to pull together”, 18/7) clarifies the inherent inconsistencies in the current approach, but it’s more than just a problem of hubris and point-scoring.

The recent interstate transmissions have demonstrated too clearly that one state’s tighter lockdown can only succeed if other states agree to enforce the same protocols. It’s up to the premiers to use their numbers in national cabinet to make this happen.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

AND ANOTHER THING

Freedom Day in the UK
The British government heralds “Freedom Day” at the same time as Prime Minister Boris Johnson goes into quarantine, emblematic of his chaotic running of the country.
David Seal, Balwyn North

Credit:

Boris Johnson is in la-la land playing Russian roulette with the next variant. Speechless.
Ruja Varon, Malvern

The pandemic
I have two sons, ages 22 and 27. Two adult Australian men who are still not eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. How is this possible?
Frank Flynn, Cape Paterson

Given NSW’s COVID numbers, perhaps it’s time for a disclaimer on The Tortoise and The Hare fable.
Joan Segrave, Healesville

Since Nathan Buckley has expertise in epidemiology, perhaps Brett Sutton could put his hand up for the Pies job.
Alistair Cowie, Horsham

If the AFL hadn’t crammed patrons into small areas, thereby compromising the whole point of limiting crowd numbers, we would now have fewer COVID cases. Why was the AFL allowed to get away with this?
Phil Bodel, Ocean Grove

If the probability of getting out of this lockdown early is similar to the percentage of people wearing masks outdoors, then it is not good.
Robert Campbell, Brighton East

Politics
After watching Barnaby Joyce on Insiders I now know why he has been made Deputy Prime Minister; he makes Scott Morrison look good.
Tony Mercer, Cowes

Furthermore
Even the repairers of the Hubble Space Telescope have to work from home.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

Finally
Two identical Non Sequiturs, no Zits (The Age, 19/7), I already knew it was going to be one of those days.
Malcolm Fraser, Oakleigh South

Comic football results: Non Sequitur 2, Zits 0
Peter Newton, Heidelberg

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