Australia had the opportunity to do something truly extraordinary to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, we are filling it in.
It was a terrifying time for the world when a mysterious new virus leaked out of China and spread across the world early last year.
As it spread to millions of people in dozens of countries, it became clear that this was no joke.
Hospital systems, even in some of the more developed nations, struggled to keep up with the sick, while morgues in poorer nations struggled to find space for the dead.
While the world is still struggling with the lingering effects of the pandemic, we have come a long way since we first heard about the new coronavirus.
Human beings as a species often get a bad rap, and sometimes with good reason, as we have been known to do stupid things to our planet and to our fellow Earth dwellers throughout history.
But, the last nineteen months or so have shown us that we too are capable of truly remarkable things.
When Covid-19 first spread far and wide, it was commonly accepted that we may never have a vaccine for the disease it causes and that if we were lucky enough to get one, it would very likely be years before that can be widely distributed. .
If he had told us that, just over a year later, Australia’s GPs would be throwing away hundreds of doses of safe and effective vaccines because people didn’t want them, we wouldn’t have believed it for a second.
Imagine saying that to one of the grieving families who lost a loved one in Melbourne’s horrible second wave last year.
But it gets even worse than that.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that it was the “beginning of the end” for the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia.
The jab, that it costs ten times less That Pfizer, can be easily transported without using Star Wars-style freezers, is already being mass-produced here in Australia and showing signs of providing more prolonged protection against Covid-19 than mRNA vaccines, it is being collectively thrown into the trash.
Production of the jab off the Australian shores will be suspended at Christmas, finally succumbing to months of hesitation after being linked to an extremely rare blood-clotting side effect.
According to the TGA, the estimated risk of dying from the side effect is about one in a million people who receive a first dose.
Out of nearly 12.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab given to Australians, eight people have died from the jab-related clotting effect known as TTS and one person has died from an extremely rare side effect called immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) .
The deaths are obviously extremely tragic for those families, but it’s also important to put this in context.
Out of roughly 130,000 Covid cases in Australia, there have been 1,448 virus-related deaths, with NSW recording more than nine deaths per day over several weeks in this latest outbreak and Victoria starting to follow the trend.
Based on those figures, you have a 1,113 percent chance of dying from Covid if you contract it, compared to a 0.000072 percent chance of dying after taking a hit from AstraZeneca.
the average number of road deaths in Australia every year it’s 1427 so you take more risks, which is hundreds of times more dangerous, crossing the street or driving to work every day than getting AstraZeneca.
There are also risks associated with the application of mRNA vaccines. The TGA says: in your last report, has received 629 reports of suspected pericarditis (inflammation and irritation of the thin membrane that surrounds the heart) after people received the Pfizer vaccine.
Again, the risk is minimal. However, the message about the AstraZeneca vaccine has been much more disappointing.
The hysterical media coverage of the jab-linked deaths had been fueled by statements from politicians who had been unhelpful at best.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s breathless press conferences on the ATAGI council changes instilled a sense of concern in Australians over the vaccine, while comments from Queensland Health Director Jeannette Young were so eager that they were recently used in an anti-vax campaign.
Posters posted in Melbourne in September featured a picture of Dr Young and a quote from one of her press conferences earlier this year, when she said: “I don’t want an 18-year-old girl in Queensland to die of a disease of the clotting that, if they had Covid, they probably wouldn’t die. “
Add to this inordinate amount of time we all spend reading junk on social media because so many of us have been locked in our homes, and it is perhaps no surprise that AstraZeneca is going the way of the dodo.
Demand for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has reportedly now rendered the vaccine irrelevant.
“Obviously, we don’t want to make something that will not be used, and we will have several options in the future,” Paul Griffin, associate professor at the University of Queensland, told Channel 9.
“Obviously it has received a lot of negative press and it is a vaccine that has proven to be very effective and very safe.”
Once the current order is completed, the Melbourne-based vaccine maker CSL is expected to stop production, and the federal government “almost certainly” will not extend the contract beyond this year.
It’s a sad ending to what could have been an Australian success story.
It means that most of our vaccine supply is now in the hands of US multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations, which are making billions of the hits and we weren’t exactly willing to provide supply when we needed it most.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca promised not to benefit from the vaccine during the pandemic and sells it at a much lower price than its competitors, and we had the opportunity to have as much as we wanted.
It is also sad and shortsighted that we are not continuing to produce AstraZeneca to support our regional neighbors and developing nations around the world who desperately need vaccines.
This is a global problem, and the continued spread of Covid-19 abroad means that new variants are likely to occur and possibly come back to haunt us.
To stop producing vaccines in Australia when nations like Indonesia, our close neighbor, friend, strategic partner and the world’s third-largest democracy, are clamoring for them is unforgivable.
Indonesia has only fully vaccinated just under 20 percent of its population, and about 35 percent have received at least one dose. That leaves almost two-thirds of its population without having received any vaccines.
Instead, AstraZeneca doses are thrown away because Australians don’t want them.
Dr Bernard Shiu, Sydney GP, anticipates that he will have to throw away an additional 500 doses next month.
“I remember when they finally came to my clinic in my hands, I felt like I was holding gold, thinking ‘wow, let’s go and save lives,'” he said. newsGP yesterday.
“Now we are throwing them away, it is absolutely heartbreaking.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.