opinion

“Vaccinations are the only way out of lockdown. And yes, it’s a race.”

Right now in my working from home set-up, I am sitting mere metres away from at least three COVID case locations in Randwick, Sydney. 

If I scroll out on the NSW Government location map, that multiplies to about 75 within a 5km radius. 

So far I have not been at any of these locations at the same time as a COVID positive person. I've laid low and followed the lockdown rules, staying indoors for the weekend. But I am playing Russian roulette with my health every time I go outside to pick up essential items.

Before we move on: Here's how to talk to anti-vaxxers. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

I am 30 years old and healthy. The median age in Sydney's eastern suburbs is 35. Which means the vast majority of us haven't been vaccinated against this virus, because we simply aren't eligible for it yet. And we likely won't be for some time. 

We keep being told the vaccine rollout is not a race. Sitting in the middle of yet another lockdown, unprotected against a strain of COVID-19 that's proven to be far more infectious and therefore far more dangerous than any we've seen before, I beg to differ.

This is a race, and we're losing. We've done our job. Australians have followed the multiple lockdowns, border closures and restrictions on our way of life, but the government hasn't done theirs. 

Other countries have managed to procure and roll out a vaccine in their communities rapidly and effectively, even while their health systems were under massive strain as they dealt with the full effect of this pandemic. 

In Australia we've been comparatively lucky, our case numbers and case deaths have been lower than most and our economy has managed to bounce back relatively well. And yet here we are 15 months in, sitting ducks, with only 4.7 per cent of our population vaccinated. 

Listen: Mia speaks with Professor Mary Louise McLaws, an epidemiologist. Post continues after podcast.


Yes, there have been complications the government didn't foresee, like the AstraZeneca blood clots and the subsequent Therapeutic Goods Administration decision to limit who could safely receive it. But the rest of the world is dealing with that hurdle too. America has fully vaccinated 46 per cent of its population, the UK 48 per cent. Italy is up to 29 per cent. 

My 34-year-old American brother-in-law had both of his jabs in April. I am not allowed to get any, and yet we know the COVID vaccine is the only real way to beat this virus. 

We haven't been 'rolling' out a vaccine as a matter of public urgency here, like they have done in America. We've been delivering a vaccine strollout built on complacency. Our leaders have literally told us "it's not a race." 

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But it is a race for those businesses that can't afford another lockdown. 

It is a race for the employees who can't survive another week without an income.

It is a race for those whose mental health is already crippled by this pandemic.

It is a race for those who can't get over borders to see their dying dads like we saw in Queensland just last week. 

There was one other job the government was supposed to be getting on with as well: quarantine.

But despite being been told by a multitude of medical experts that hotel quarantine is not a long-term solution, Prime Minister Scott Morrison keeps telling us it's "99 per cent effective." 

Hotels are built for tourism, not medical quarantine. Over one year in, they remain. Over one year in, we keep seeing the majority of our outbreaks linked back to these very systems, and so we are back at the start of the merry-go-round: The virus is let loose on a community where only four per cent are vaccinated.

It's exhausting. This lack of action, this vaccine 'strollout,' is exhausting.

As someone in the centre of the latest lockdown, I don't give a damn whose fault it is. We have done our job. We've done it over, and over and over again - particularly Victorians who've done lockdown four times now.

We know how to lockdown and work from home with only a few hours notice, because unfortunately in this Groundhog Day world the government has created for us, we've become experts at it. 

To those running this country: We've done our job. Please stop bickering and do yours. The rest of the world is starting to open up and we'd very much like to join them. 

Oh, and if you're eligible; please get vaccinated. There's plenty of us that would love to be next in that line. 

Feature image: Getty/Mamamia.

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