Sunday, August 01, 2021

Covid issues and confusions 1 - the Vaccination communications mess

"I don't want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness who, if they got COVID, probably wouldn't die. 

"We have had very few deaths due to COVID-19 in Australia in people under the age of 50 and wouldn't it be terrible that our first 18-year-old in Queensland who dies related to this pandemic, died because of the vaccine. 

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young 

On 3 July 2021 in Confusions over AstraZeneca I commented on confusions in the Australian vaccination advice and processes. I included this quote from Queensland's Chief Health Officer attacking the PM's suggestion that younger Australians should access AstraZeneca subject to doctor's advice.  

Dr Young could not have foreseen the Delta variant, but her emotional reaction helped create an environment where people continue to resist the now widely available AstraZeneca vaccine. This holds even among older Australians where the vaccine is recommended. I know this from my own contact network. It also appears more strongly among culturally and linguistically distinct where clear messaging in language is very important.  

Governments, especially the NSW Government, are now trying to encourage people to use AstraZeneca subject to doctor's advice on their personal situation. This actually mirrors advice previously provided. I haven't checked the statistics, but the raw numbers suggest that the number of younger Australians who have been hospitalised or died  from covid already  exceeds the statistical risks from AstraZeneca side effects. They also show that vaccinated Australians who do become infected are far less likely to suffer severe effects. 

Young people are already opting with their feet to get AstraZeneca recognising that vaccination is the only path that will allow them to resume a normal life. Meantime, there is one plus in all this. The AstraZeneca surplus is allowing us to provide more vaccines to out neighbours!   


marcellous said...

Good to see you can find a silver lining, Jim.

Under pressure from my already twice-jabbed cohabitant I acceded to Dr Chant's pleas and brought forward my second jab by a massive six days - walking in this afternoon to the same place where on 20/5, similarly on the off-chance, I got my first.

There has been a communications mess, hasn't there! I think Dr Young was a bit rattled by having Mr Morrison's unilateral announcement re the AZ sprung on her.

If one did not have the misfortune of also living through it, the interplay of long and short term risks, aims and strategies in dealing with all of this could be quite fascinating. I guess there's still an awful fascination to it.

Jim Belshaw said...

I'm sorry for the long delay in responding to your comment, marcellous. It's been a roller coaster ride. I'm glad that you were persuaded to get the second jab. It's clear that you can still get covid with vaccination, but it's also clear that the chance of adverse effects is released.

Since I wrote this post communication problems have increased, while patience is wearing very thin. The problems in Western NSW could have been (were) foreseen. There is an irony in vaccines being diverted from regional NSW just as cases started to circulate. I suspect that the Premier and Health Minister are just exhausted. As you say, it would be a fascinating case study if we weren't living through it.

I'm still trying to process all this. In the first NSW lockdown the rules were actually easier, allowing people to regroup. As a small but simple example, during the first lockdown people were able to focus on new things such as home improvement or crafts. Yesterday my partner wanted to buy some wool so she could at least do something productive and soothing. But this time places such as Lincraft are shut because they are not essential. We have ordered on line, but with delivery charges the price of a ball of wool came in at some $13!

The lockdowns are hitting the smallest places hardest, providing an advantage to Woolies or Coles. But even there, gaps are opening on the shelves as supply chains suffer, while prices are rising.

We are meant to be moving to a new house. The move has been delayed by difficulties in getting tradies. We decided to do some basic work ourselves. I measured the distance. It's just within the 5k radius, but it's not clear that we can actually go there even though the house is vacant. Is the work essential? Can we classify it as exercise? I may be being over-sensitive, but now that we have moved to the compliance phase, now that police cars are pulling people up, I am cautious.

I won't go on, but the whole thing has become a fucking mess.