Australia’s leaders and top doctors spent much of the weekend urging the public to stop messing around and get vaccinated, following news of a number of Covid-19 clusters popping up in states and territories across the country.
Currently, residents of Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour are in a two-week lockdown, while from 1am tomorrow, masks will be mandatory for two weeks in Queensland’s south-east region following news of five local cases. New South Wales currently has more than 100 local cases of Covid-19. Meanwhile, Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield in the Northern Territory entered a 48-hour lockdown on Sunday after there were four new cases linked to the NT mine cluster. All this follows Melbourne’s Covid-19 scare earlier in the month, which plunged the state into a two-week lockdown.
Australian Medical Association Vice President Dr Chris Moy told SBS News on Sunday that the nation wouldn’t be facing another lockdown if Australia’s vaccination rollout wasn’t so slow. So far, only about 7.26 million vaccines have been administered in Australia — well behind the 322 million doses in United States and the 76.3 million doses in United Kingdom.
Moy went on to say that while Australia was well ahead other countries when it came to complying to lockdown orders and stoping the spread of the virus early last year, we’ve gotten too comfortable, and haven’t taken further steps to get on with life, and one way to do that is getting vaccinated.
“We’ve been the victims of our own success so far because to some degree there’s been a level of complacency and we’ve been living in a very gilded cage, a Truman Show, Jim Carrey-type world where we’ve really been very disconnected,” he said.
“It’s been said we’ve been sitting ducks and we have — it’s been proven true. It’s been very much about individuals – why would I do it, why not let other people have it first, let them protect me – but really, we need to understand that the community spirit that we need to get through this lockdown also needs to transfer to people; seeing as a community the need to get vaccinated.
“I don’t think the communication has been adequate in terms of what it means for you as an individual to get vaccinated and what it means for the community as well.”
Meanwhile, Labor leader Anthony Albanese criticised the federal government’s slow vaccine rollout, telling reporters on Sunday: “More than a year after the pandemic began, two capital cities are in lockdown and restrictions are being reimposed in two others.
“This is why we need more vaccines and national quarantine. This is a race — and until Scott Morrison realises that, lockdowns will keep happening.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian echoed Albanese’s calls saying: “We have literally millions of people in NSW wanting the vaccine. The NSW government cannot control how many doses we get (and) I want to assure the community whenever we get doses, we get them in arms,” she told reporters.
Speaking in a press conference on Monday morning, Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszcuck urged the public to go and get vaccinated.
“Go and get your vaccine,” she said. “If it’s your turn, don’t miss that appointment because you’re taking it from someone else.”