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Monday, 22 March 2021 12:26

After all the headlines, whatever happened to them vaccines?

After all the headlines, whatever happened to them vaccines? Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay

Despite the blaring headlines that six million more Australians are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine from today (Monday), this does not mean they can get themselves vaccinated.

The common theme among clinics which are certified to provide the vaccination is that there is no stock available.

One can only join a waiting list when one tries to get an appointment. Then the institution in question pledges to inform the person concerned when vaccine stock lands, and at that stage a booking can be made.

When that will happen is anybody's guess. And in case you think I am pulling your leg, dear reader, this is from my personal experience.

Bookings at the clinics listed by the Department of Health in my postcode have to be done only over the phone. It seems the government can build a website that provides information. Not one that can accept bookings.

But given the past experience of government websites collapsing as they tried to cope with the load — Centrelink and the ABS come to mind — it was probably wiser to go with the telephone system.

However, neither booking system is of any use if there is no vaccine. There has been much jaw about this vaccine and that, but there seems to be nothing at home when one needs it. Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard is bare.

There is one simple reason for this: government incompetence. It is always big on announcements, but operates on the principle that an ounce of image is worth a pound of performance. (thanks to the late Professor Peter J. Laurence for that line).

Incompetence of any magnitude is always tolerated. One assumes that both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt were aware, from the start of the pandemic, that Australia is an island.

Following on from that, and the relative isolation of the continent, it would also be reasonable to assume that these worthies also knew that international tourists — people from other parts of the world to make it plain — could only visit this country when the borders are open.

And that, in turn, could only happen when a substantial proportion of the populace is vaccinated — both doses — else it would not inspire confidence in any arrivals. Nor would the populace be overly happy about being exposed to others from virus-heavy nations.

Despite these few facts — which a man of low IQ like me is aware of — no steps were taken to try and get the vaccination campaign done as soon as possible. Many luminaries were basking in the glory of having kept the number of deaths down.

They all forgot that you can dine out on that only for so long. The provision of public money to citizens probably led to many eyes being glazed over and this bit of reality did not really get through.

Bangladesh, a poor country that is regularly devastated by floods, has vaccinated nearly five million of its 160-odd million people. Israel is nearing the finish line, but then it has a relatively small number – less than 10 million.

But the numbers remaining are unimportant; what matters is that these countries went on what can only be described as a war-footing and undertook the only permanent solution – insofar as one exists.

In Australia, meanwhile, Morrison and Hunt are getting ready for another media conference...

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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