Flat White

ScoMo and premiers: if you want people to get vaccinated give them liberty

22 August 2021

6:00 AM

22 August 2021

6:00 AM

Lets talk SARS covid-19 — coroanvirus. The political responses to Covid, while varying across the nation, consist of a general mask mandate with lockdowns and quarantine in different proportions and advertisements encouraging vaccination.

Let’s talk polio, smallpox, measles, mumps, chickenpox, flu, swine flu, avarian flu, SARS, German measles and all other contagious viruses. The current political response of the states to each of those contagious viruses is to promote vaccination and any necessary medical assistance as required. The reaction of the states to each positive test has been ridiculed by one of America’s leading television presenters, especially the reaction of the Australian Capital Territory’s administration to a single case.

But the Commonwealth has maintained its unique do-nothing political response to Covid, although it is currently recommending that we be vaccinated against shingles.

When a person in the community tests positive to Covid, the various state governments identify its source and place all those who have been to the same place at the same time in quarantine for two weeks while recommending testing and masks. The quarantine period ends only if an exit test is negative. The period of maskwearing is indeterminate.

Mandated responses are accompanied by financial penalties, possible arrest and shrill reports from lazy journalists who impugn the offending public as irresponsible and cite the infection/death scorecard. 

The Commonwealth government’s political response is to advertise vaccination – ‘we are all in this together’ – while striving to purchase sufficient vaccine for the purpose. In the meantime, don’t forget to be vaccinated for shingles.

When ‘enough’ people with positive tests are found in the community – ‘enough’ being the length of a piece of string – state government public health officials mandate masks and impose a community lockdown for a period of time to be determined by the results of on-going testing. These responses are accompanied by financial penalties and arrest.

The Commonwealth’s political response to an increased incidence of positive tests is to recommend that people become vaccinated – ‘we are all in this together’ – while striving to purchase even more vaccine. In the meantime, don’t forget to be vaccinated for shingles. The Commonwealth, which has the overriding constitutional authority to legislate for any nation-wide pandemic, decided to co-ordinate the states’ responses by assembling an unconstitutional ‘National Cabinet’. It did get good press for a little while.

While vaccination for those “contagious viruses” (not Covid or shingles) is recommended, it is not compulsory. The Australian public, however, has generally speaking, acted responsibly by vaccinating their children against those other contagious viruses for which a vaccine is available. The private advantage of vaccinating our children is the happiness that comes with peace of mind.

If, as the Commonwealth continually argues, vaccination is the key, the political issue is how to convince the unvaccinated to become vaccinated. At present, vaccination brings no personal relief from enthusiastic public health officials. Why vaccinate, therefore, if you know that the public health officials are going to protect everyone regardless and penalise everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, for transgressions.

While compulsory Covid vaccinations are politically unaccceptable, enthusiastic celebrity, pro-vaccination advertisements, are probably counterproductive; but I’m sure a focus group of vaccinated individuals has been consulted.

A more practical approach would see the Commonwealth enact a law that excepted the fully vaccinated from all states’ public health regulations. As the Commonwealth holds a record of all that have been vaccinated, a person’s onus of proving their exemption would be relatively straightforward.

The predictable response by our ever cautious, timid public health officials will be that even the doubly vaccinated can carry the virus and transmit it to others. However, the evidence for the Pfizer vaccine, and there is no reason why the same doesn’t apply to AstraZeneca,  suggests that the likelihood of transmission is small. If the slight risk of transmission by the vaccinated to the unvaccinated is small, perhaps our timid federal politicians could find enough courage to act, knowing that the exemption would encourage the unvaccinated to seek vaccination.

Those who have acted responsibly and are fully vaccinated need to be freed from timid state public health responses which assume against the evidence, that they can wipe Covid out completely. The Commonwealth’s overarching duty is to ensure that all who want it are vaccinated ASAP. The one-size-suits-all public health responses have shielded State governments from any critical questioning and the public medical officials have aided and abetted that subversion of responsible government in the name of science.

Yet, if public health responses were the only possible ones, if the science was so well known, the governments would not need to poll their marginal electorates to confirm their own support. Their resort to polling implies that when the public’s support weakens, their responses will be altered; open-neck shirt, blazer, casual unbrushed hair, you know who I mean.

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