Sanjiva Wijesinha -writer and physician

Short stories, Travel and Health Information

To Vaccinate or Vacillate?

It is gratifying for us to note that Australia is finally beginning to get its population efficaciously vaccinated against COVID – having bungled the initial roll-out of its vaccination programme.

Six months after the vaccination programme commenced here, we are just beginning to see some realistic progress.

Today (19th August 2021) just 22 % of Australia’s population is fully vaccinated – with another 18% having had one dose of the vaccine and waiting to get their second dose. This is certainly not good enough when compared to other countries such as Portugal, Canada, Britain and the US, which now have over half their population fully vaccinated; however it is certainly much better than the figure of less than 10% of the population that was fully vaccinated in this country a month ago.

Why these appalling figures – a situation that allowed COVID to make a comeback and start running rampant again, resulting in the populous states of New South Wales and Victoria having to come under lockdown again?

Initially, not enough vaccines were procured. The infrastructure for the roll-out of vaccinations was not properly set up.

People who were seeking to get vaccinated had to go through a complicated booking process. Changing regulations as to WHO could get WHICH vaccine WHEN also hampered access and success.

To compound the problem, the government lacked a decisive and effective communication strategy. When the rare risk of the Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) associated with the Astra Zeneca vaccine became known and was pounced upon by the media (both the Fourth Estate and the Social Media Broadcasters), vaccine hesitancy increased. People became confused by the changing guidelines and the mixed and inconsistent messages coming from politicians, health professionals, and regulatory bodies.

All this led to vacillation rather than vaccination, resulting in Australia’s vaccination programme progressing at a snail’s pace. 

Since most folk get the information they believe and rely on from social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Bing, I felt it appropriate to share this sensible message posted by one of my friends today on social media.

His down to earth message sums up what many of us (including myself) feel about the current COVID situation

This is what he said:

You are not vaccinated, I respect your choice.

I am vaccinated, so please respect my choice.

I got myself vaccinated not to please the government but:

  • To not die from Covid-19.
  • To NOT clutter a hospital bed if I get sick.
  • To hug my loved ones
  • To go to a restaurant, go on holidays and explore the world, and for many more things to come …
  • To live my life.
  • To have my kids/grandkids go back to school and play sports and start dancing again
  • To make Covid-19 become an old memory.
  • To protect all of us.

To put this in perspective, I must admit that I don’t know what’s in it – neither in this vaccine nor the ones I had as a child.

I have no idea of all the ingredients in a Big Mac or a hot dog or in other treatments – whether it’s chemotherapy for cancer, immunotherapy for AIDS, medications for polyarthritis, or in the routine vaccines given for infants and children. I also don’t know what’s in Ibuprofen, Paracetemol, Meloxicam nor any other medicines. I take them because they cure my headaches and my pains …

I don’t know what’s in the ink for tattoos. Neither do I know every ingredient in my soap or shampoo. I don’t know the long term effect of mobile phone use or whether or not that restaurant I just ordered food from REALLY used clean ingredients or just claimed tobe doing so!

There’s a lot of things I don’t know and never will. I just know one thing: life is short, very short, and I still want to do something other than just go to work every day or stay locked in my home. I still want to travel and hug people without fear and find a little feeling of the life we had”before”. As a child and as an adult I’ve been vaccinated for mumps, measles, rubella, polio, chicken pox, tetanus and probably a few other diseases. My parents and I trusted the science and never had to suffer through or transmit any of said diseases.

Just saying…..

I must confess that I could not have articulated it better myself 🙂

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This entry was posted on August 21, 2021 by in covid, Health Matters, Opinion and tagged , .
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