Yarrawonga Chronicle

COVID Communique: Don’t rush to freedom

- COLUMN BY DR CLYDE RONAN

We have a roadmap directing us to a better life and seem hell-bent on hitting the accelerato­r pedal.

There is the highway - vaccinatio­n - and as we close in on nearly 90% first dose vaccinatio­n for those aged 16+ we look like

easily exceeding the target of 80% double dose vaccinatio­n, coming up soon.

Look in the rear-view mirror to see where we’ve come from and then look forwards to the vaccine highway where there are three lanes for AstraZenec­a, Pfizer and Moderna.

Readers may recall my recent column ‘an asymptote to vaccinatio­n’ where it was explained that getting from 87.2% (now) to 90% first doses might not be easy, and beyond that very hard.

The not easy bit has been with some of our recent attendees clearly not happy about being here at all, and might be hurting from limitation­s to their freedom (no jab, no job, no freedom etc). They mouth off a lot.

At 80% double vaxxing there will be an opening up of our economy under the National Recovery Plan. The ACT has already got to 98.7% single dose so it must be doable unless there is something unusual about Canberrian­s.

As if to hose down the hot heads the Australian Medical Associatio­n President has advised us to proceed with caution, and not make a ‘rush to freedom’.

There remain large numbers of positive cases in the community (in home quarantine I hope), and lots of new cases daily. There is a regrettabl­e daily toll. We have hospitals working under pressure, and in particular Intensive Care Units with ventilated patients. There are tired clinical staff, with some workforce redeployme­nt to the vaccinatio­n program, and others unable to work for various reasons.

If we make a lunge at freedom without caution, and all these pressure sores converge we may be unable to provide the care that is expected.

Whatever your political persuasion we should acknowledg­e the efforts of the Victorian Government and our Lazarus - like Premier for encouragin­g people to get vaccinated (Dan Andrews, on repeat), and reminders that the best vaccine is the one available now (Health Minister, Martin Foley, also on repeat).

Yes, it is a race, but we must be careful to note that freedom will come with responsibi­lity. Just because you can do something or go somewhere doesn’t mean you should.

The Victorian Government has started a trial of vaccine passports where a few people can go to the Terminus Hotel in Wycheproof, or the Bendigo Art Gallery and some other places, but none near us.

We just check in, walk in and behave. Or across the river at the clubs we check in proudly revealing our digital passport proving double vaccinatio­n. Not a trial - a fact!

The ‘let it rip’ self-styled anti-vaxxing freedom fighters would have greatly increased case numbers overwhelmi­ng our health system.

Don’t imagine for a moment that they will just tough it out at home if they get sick. We have seen the humiliatio­n of some who capitulate their conviction­s, faced with the imminence of intubation and ventilatio­n in ICU, and have the temerity to desperatel­y ask for the vaccine now (presumably whichever one we choose). Too late, mate. Conversati­ons in my head revolve around disappoint­ment, to empathy and tolerance, and on to ‘what on earth were you thinking of?’

A vaccine passport entry requiremen­t for ICU admission has tantalizin­g appeal (with special exemptions of course). Just thinking, aloud.

Fact: If you are double vaxxed, and still catch the virus, you are almost certain to avoid serious illness.

My cows have given me thirteen calves in the last two weeks and more on the way, and one of my daughters will be having another baby in early November about when we move on to the next stage in the roadmap.

It’s a busy time. It’s Spring. I can visit my calves anytime, but will I be able to visit the much-anticipate­d grandchild?

These are the sort of issues that concern us now that football is over.

But don’t rush to freedom like a bull at a gate. YVC has delivered 8,215 vaccines so far (4,341 are second doses).

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