Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Why we need less jibber as we roll up sleeves for jabber

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Why we need less jibber as we roll up sleeves for jabber


Dr Jane Stephens: why we need less jibber as we roll up our sleeves for the jabber

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Are we ready? Are we braced for the waves of severe illness and death that are swamping other nations? Can we stand the cost, the pain and the misery here?

I say we can’t and the simple answer is to roll up our sleeves and have less jibber and more jabber.

I am one of many who find the hesitation around vaccination stupefying.

Our bubble of safety that is virtually COVID-free is certain to burst and unless we are armed and ready, the swell will jack up and the breakers will pound us. We have to be prepared for devastation and loss.

Somehow, even among the intelligent and informed, irrational fear has taken hold and the infinitesimal chance of getting a blood clot or a reaction severe enough to warrant hospitalisation has caused injection rejection.

What exactly are these people waiting for? Billions of people have been vaccinated worldwide. A teeny portion have had a serious reaction. You don’t have to be a mathematician to realise the fear is irrational.

While I respect individual rights to choose what goes into their bodies, the consequences will be all of ours to bear.

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The borders will open – they must. We live in a world and we can’t keep it away forever. Our economy, our culture, our communities can’t take it for too much longer.

Public health experts are saying 70 to 80 per cent of the population will need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 can be allowed to circulate in the community. Do that or be ravaged just as they have been in other nations.

Canada opened up when about half its population had been given one dose and some cities there including Toronto are feeling the dire effects, with ICUs full of young people and oxygen supplies running low.

Let’s remember that the idea of vaccination is to prevent illness so severe it causes hospitalisation or death, not to stop us getting infected.

The scaremongering is working. We are dragging the chain far more than other nations.

About 3.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered so far in our country of almost 26 million people. It is believed only a tiny number have had the two jabs required for full coverage.

The AMA has said we are ‘sitting ducks’ if we don’t get a wriggle on. One specialist this week said our lack of immunisation uptake would bite us in the backside.

Our derrieres will be the least of our concerns soon, because when the waves start – and they will – it will be too late to scramble. Immunity and resistance takes time, and time won’t be something we have then.

We have been living with COVID-19 ‘over there’ – in a fluffy, pastel pink-hued dream in comparison to most of the world, thanks to a blessing of geography and fierce and fearless governments.

On the Sunshine Coast, our experience with the world-changing virus has been limited to  brief, inconvenient restrictions on movement and interaction.

But it will not stay that way, and the sand in the hourglass is running out.

Jane Stephens is a USC journalism lecturer, media commentator and writer.