So, in a move that for a second gave me a feeling of hope during this pandemic, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a 4-phase ‘plan’ to get us somewhat back to normal. You know, at long last they actually acknowledged that we should be heading somewhere, that one day we might not have to live in constant fear of being locked down and in fact, perhaps we will be able to leave the country again.
It’s not a plan that sees anything happen soon, and from what we all understand the key indicators to move from one phase to the next are the vaccination figures. They have not announced what the figures required to move, for example, from phase one which we are in right now to phase two are, as in we don’t know what percentage of the population needs to be fully vaccinated. I can only imagine it’s more than fifty percent. Commentators in the media are saying that it’s expected to be around the end of the year to move to phase two.
The vaccine rollout is moving faster than it has. In fact, I had my first jab last week. It has been really hard to get a first jab of Pfizer here, which the government is recommending for all under 60 now (it was under 50). Astra Zeneca is the basket they put almost all the eggs in though, and they have frightened most people away from it with advice that under 60s don’t receive it. Which would be okay if we have plenty of Pfizer or Moderna, which has just been approved here for use but we haven’t yet received any. They initially ordered Pfizer before Astra Zeneca was approved, but not in large quantities.
I rang the vaccine hotline to book a Pfizer appointment several times to be told there was none available for first doses. The government two weeks back said that if the under 60s wanted to received Astra Zeneca they could if they signed an indemnity agreement should there be blood clots. I have been keen to get vaccinated for quite a while, so after another wasted phone call to the vaccine hotline, I booked in through a doctor’s surgery to get Astra. Pfizer has NOT been available through GPs, due to storage requirements and supply, but that is about to change.
It turned out through work though in a serendipitous moment where I wasn’t required for a shift – very very rare – I could head to the city and get the jab as the company had an arrangement for 9 – 1pm on that day with Aspen Medical who were administering Pfizer to frontline workers. So it happened! I had a sore arm for two days and was very tired after it, otherwise very smooth.
So anyways, Australia is at 7.5% or so fully vaccinated, the lowest of 67 OECD countries IN THE WORLD. So it’s really stuffed things up – and Astra Zeneca is expiring because many don’t want it. Which is sad because so many nations – especially Bangladesh – could really use it right now.
So as near as I can see, this plan will see international travel start to return maybe mid-next year. But until they announce the thresholds, and they say it all depends on medical advice, well we still play this sort of ‘blind guessing game’. Thanks for reading – May the Journey Never End!