Mirror Article March 9

With all the news about Ukraine, Putin, floods and the sudden death of cricketers, it is easy to forget about the pandemic. Especially as we all really do want to forget about it.Unfortunately it has taken tragedies to displace it from the front page news and from the front of mind. Aren’t we all tired of the same old message, from the same old precautions,from the same old health advice?

So with that in mind I’ll make this update short.

The good news is that the peak of the Omicron-variant of COVID has passed and we are most definitely on the downward side.The bad news is that people are still dying and people are still getting really sick. In the past 24/24 in Australia there were over 22,000 new cases, with over 1700 in hospital and 113 in ICU. These are numbers which not so long ago we would have found quite alarming but there is no doubt that there has been a collective numbing of our COVID responsiveness…the figures all merge and can lose their impact. One figure shouldn’t do that, though, and that is the number of deaths in Australia… which is 5416 at time of writing.

We continue to offer COVID vaccinations at the medical centre and strongly urge those of you that have yet to have a booster to reconsider. There is good evidence, and this is bornout in local examples, that the protection from the primary course of 2 shots wanes over time; to ensure you aren’t an addition to these hospital numbers, book in and get it done.There is certainly enough Omicron still around to need protection.

Novavax uptake has been underwhelming so far. We have it. We have sessions available. We encourage those of you who have run the risk of not being vaccinated so far, with all thesecondary societal and family hardships that have frequently come with those decisions, to consider the Novavax COVID vaccine. And feel free to talk with us about it. (Note that the Novavax is only available as a primary course, not as a booster.)

Along with everyone else, we hope that this will be the last variant and that the ‘peak’ will continue to pass without another ‘wave’. We don’t know this however. We do know thatprotecting everyone globally with vaccinations, quite apart from being the humane and right thing to do, is a sure way of limiting the possibility of new variants. The continued inequalityof vaccine distribution to poorer countries is shameful. The fact that rich countries like Australia can talk about 4th doses when so many of our near neighbours have yet to have access to a single shot should really trigger a response in us both nationally but also individually.

So I will end with a plug for “Go Give One”, a COVID-19 fundraising campaign with no borders. Created by the WHO Foundation, it calls on everyone, everywhere to play theirpart in helping vaccinate the world. Monies go to fund vaccines for lower income countries, helping protect those who need vaccines the most.

Have a look at gogiveone.org and get on board!