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20 August, 2021

Editorial: Whatever it takes

THERE appears to be increasing ‘COVID-Message-Fatigue’. Put simply most Australians are now numbed by the numbers, ‘tuning-out’ to the political press conferences, and desperately wanting a level of normality to return to our lives.

By Peter McCullagh

There appears to be increasing ‘COVID-Message-Fatigue’. Put simply most Australians are now numbed by the numbers, ‘tuning-out’ to the political press conferences, and desperately wanting a level of normality to return to our lives.

I do not disagree. We all crave the opportunity to escape our COVID confines and spend time with friends and family interstate.

Oh, to be able to travel easily overseas to visit ageing family and know that we do not have to isolate and quarantine at each end of our travels.

Unfortunately, this will not happen safely, or easily if we do not achieve a level of protection against COVID and all its variants.

The common consensus amongst the medical community is we can achieve a level of ‘herd immunity’ once we reach 80% vaccination levels.

‘Herd immunity’ has worked well in the past, measles, mumps, polio and chickenpox are all prime examples. For most part the general community is protected, only in areas with lower vaccination rates do we see serious outbreaks of these diseases.

The push is now on across Australia to achieve the magical 80 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated. Both government and community are focussed on this goal.

If we achieve this figure, benefits will flow. A level of ‘herd immunity’ will be achieved and we can start to return to a ‘new normal’.

My fear is that COVID will not go away. Just like mumps, measles and other major diseases, the future for us will be managing the risk not eliminating the risk.

So, we have a choice. COVID is not going to disappear. It does not matter whether we feel COVID is natural occurring or man-made, COVID is real, its here and like measles, mumps and polio the risk needs to be managed.

Whatever it takes to reach the 80 per cent vaccination level we must do. We need to front up and get both doses of the vaccine. Once we have achieved this vaccination milestone we have greater options as individuals.

In Queensland, we currently have 25.2 per cent of Queenslanders fully vaccinated and a little over 43 per cent with one jab. Projections are we can achieve this 80 per cent before Christmas this year.

What a Christmas present this could be for everyone. The opportunity to celebrate this festive season without the COVID shadow dimming our Christmas lights.

This message will not sit well with some. I receive emails and phone calls with the number blocked, from readers worried that COVID is a world government conspiracy and refusing to vaccinate.

Unfortunately, we will always have a percentage of the population who doubt. We have to accept them and accept this as a product of free speech and free thought. However, my hope is that we can achieve 80 per cent very quickly. Whatever it takes to get to this figure let’s do it.

If that means vaccination passports, bring them on. If its Anthony Albanese’s $300 cash incentive, well where do I give my bank account details to get the money.

I know with a vaccination passport I will be able to travel and spend money visiting family and friends and with a cash incentive I will also spend this. Either method the economy is stimulated, travel can return, and life can return to a new ‘normal’.

At times of national crisis, the collective good should prevail. Imagine what would have happened if during the blitz in London, 20 per cent of the houses refused to turn off their lights each evening, because ‘no government is going to tell me what I can do’?

The remaining 80 percent would have been placed at serious risk of death or injury. We are in a global crisis and as a nation we need to accept vaccination as the pathway out of the current crisis and vaccination is essential in the long-term management of the risk presented by this pandemic.

Stay safe, stay healthy and please get vaccinated.

Peter McCullagh


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