Tackling Vaccine Complacency Close to Home


People like my parents can help speed up Australia’s vaccine rollout – if they stop doing it.

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For the past two weeks, I have been trying to motivate my parents to get vaccinated. They are eligible from early May and can book an appointment through their GP whenever they want. They’re going to get it. They are putting it off for now.

I am deeply disappointed with the slow pace of Australia’s vaccine rollout, especially seeing from Melbourne, where we are just coming out of a two-week lockdown that may not have been necessary to vaccinate more people.

Damien, our bureau chief, is working on a big-picture article detailing how Australia and Asia, which have been so successful in early containment of the virus, are now lagging behind in their vaccine rollouts by more than a month. facing isolation and uncertainty. (Watch out for it in the coming days.)

On a microscopic level, I think my parents – and a significant number of Australians with a similar mindset – have another element of the story: people who have no issues with vaccines, but with decency and this notion. Because we are more or less protected from the virus here in our island fortress, there is little incentive to get vaccinated.

My parents are vaccine supporters, educated and knowledgeable. The latter may be part of the issue – they became eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine shortly after the government’s memorable late-night news conference, which announced that the vaccine was no longer available to people due to extremely rare cases of blood clots. was not recommended for less than 50, and the latter consumed much of the breathless media coverage.

They also live in Sydney, where there have been no serious outbreaks since December and where the coronavirus feels continents, or at least states, far away. “We’re not at much risk anyway,” my dad said in early May. “There are people who need it more right now, we’ll let them go first.”

I have to admit that complacency also seeped into my thinking. When my parents told me they were going to wait, I went overboard: I’ll look at this later. I used to talk to them about it, but I needed to mentally prepare myself for what could be a very long conversation, so I’ll do it when I have the time and energy.

And while I was well aware that the risks from vaccines were small, it’s different in practice when it’s people you care about. What if I pushed them to get it and then something happened? I could have had this conversation with him at any time. It didn’t have to happen now, because there was no immediate risk anyway.

Then, of course, there was another Melbourne outbreak and the prospect of weeks in lockdown blew me out of my complacency.

One good thing about lockdown is one good thing: “In Sydney it can happen at any time! We are not free from the virus yet! Don’t you want me to come to you? I can’t do this if we continue with the lockdown!”

But even now, the sense of urgency doesn’t seem to be affected. He did not see any major push from the government to vaccinate people. Not that the outbreak in Victoria has affected them on any practical level (they’re sending me pictures of me hiking with friends, which in lock-down Melbourne I can’t help but be a little annoyed with) I am). In Sydney, which has been quite successful in controlling the virus without imposing lockdown-level restrictions, the risk of another outbreak still does not seem to outweigh the small risk of a vaccine.

They’re getting around to it. They understand that it takes weeks between doses, which means it doesn’t make sense to get it only when Sydney is at risk of an outbreak. And people they know are getting vaccinated now.

This week, they have finally said they will make an appointment for vaccinations. That doesn’t mean they’ll do it right away, and it’s possible they were just saying it to please me, but still, I’m counting it as progress.

How do you feel about the progress of Australia’s vaccine rollout? Write to us at /a>.

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