While Tucker Carlson is still dragging both his knuckles on the ground The Saudis show just how far ahead of him they are when it comes to vaccine mandates.
Republican TV idol Tucker Carlson called Iraqis “monkeys” and “illiterate” and maintains that “white men” invented civilization. That is, Muslims in his view are uncivilized, an opinion widely shared in Republican circles. I pointed out to Mr. Carlson that actually it was the Iraqis who invented much of what we now call civilization. But here is another kicker: Saudi Arabia, the bastion of a peculiar kind of Wahhabism or ultra-fundamentalist form of Islam, is putting in a whole range of vaccine mandates. Its religious and state officials now say that anyone who comes on pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca must have two doses of a WHO-approved vaccine.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, said it well in Tuesday’s press conference: we can aim for a “soft landing” where other countries can’t. The modelling tells us when we get to 80% adult vaccination coverage, we can avoid the huge wave of infections we’ve worked so hard to prevent. Unlike the United Kingdom, where cases peaked again on reopening, or the United States, where cases and hospitalisations are both on the rise, we can leverage our past success in outbreak control and get through this without ever seeing a wave of a truly international proportions.
It seems almost obscene to be considering the politics of vaccines given the grave danger posed by the ongoing COVID pandemic to public health. The Delta variant is ripping through the country at an alarming rate, mostly posing severe threat to the unvaccinated but with a disturbingly high breakthrough frequency among the vaccinated as well. Florida has reported 21,683 new Covid cases today alone–a devastating indictment of Governor DeSantis’ refusal to take the pandemic seriously. But tackle the politics we must, because so much of the country’s failure to control the Covid pandemic from the start has been due to Republican political calculations. Then-president Donald Trump didn’t want to take the necessary steps to control the pandemic because he was afraid they might spook the stock market and cost him re-election. They further cynically calculated that Covid would affect people in cities and blue states the most, and that both the demographic devastation and electoral pain of the pandemic would be born by Democratic constituencies and blue state governors. The recall against California Governor Gavin Newsom was driven by conservative outrage over school closures and lockdowns
Scott Morrison is hoping the vaccine scarcity that has led to the lockdown of half the nation’s population will be close to resolution by December, and along with it a reversal of his political fortunes. But as fate would have it, that timetable coincides with our next summer.
More practical approaches have come from outside government circles. Former Prime Ministers have shown Morrison up. The ever-connected Kevin Rudd made his own intervention in lobbying Pfizer’s chairman Albert Bourla. This effort was bitchily dismissed by Hunt and watered down by the Morrison government. Rudd’s response was a snarl. He would “definitely not seek to associate himself with the Australian Government’s comprehensively botched vaccine procurement program.” The Australian model, if it can be called that, has pricked international attention. John LaMattina, former president of Pfizer Global Research and Development, was all understatement about it in an interview on Australian television: “If I was an Australian, and I was seeing the rest of the world getting all these vaccine doses, and my country … was late to the party, I’d be a little disappointed to say the least. And it isn’t as if they were blindsided.” The Financial Review was less reserved. Australia may well have developed “an enviable test and tracing system” that helped keep the COVID-19 death toll to less than a thousand. But it had “squandered its early victory over the virus, despite being one of the
The ‘gold standard’ state is in crisis We get so many COVID-related numbers thrown at us these days it can be eye-glazing. But these numbers demonstrated better than any others how the nature of the pandemic has morphed as much as the virus itself in the last couple of months. It’s no longer just about protecting old and vulnerable people. The chances that you will catch it from a casual contact are much higher. It’s a disease that is hitting people of every age, and hard. It’s not just a race to vaccinate the vulnerable groups — it’s a race to vaccinate everyone. Politically, too, it is morphing. The all-too-easy politics that seemed to flow from Victoria’s woes last year — the implicit message that it all came down to various forms of incompetence in one state — are also a thing of the past now that the “gold standard” state is in such a crisis. This isn’t just a shot at the fact the Prime Minister has put so much store on NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklean’s handling of the pandemic in her state until now. It is that so many more variables than tracing systems and hotel quarantine are now open to question, and set different political hares running. It is vaccine supplies and
Health authorities in Denmark, Iceland and Norway say they have temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine shots after reports of the formation of blood clots in some who have been vaccinated. The move comes after Austria stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca shots while investigating a death from coagulation disorders and an illness from a pulmonary embolism. Danish health authorities said the country’s decision to suspend the shots for two weeks came after a 60-year old woman in Denmark, who was given an AstraZeneca shot from the same batch that was used in Austria, formed a blood clot and died.
Australia. the US, the UK and the European Union are refusing to waive intellectual property rights to Covid-19 vaccines so developing countries can produce the vaccine locally. This refusal, in the face of vaccine hoarding by rich countries, is likely to cause millions more deaths because of slower access to a vaccine. It is also extremely short-sighted because long delays in global vaccination will enable more powerful variants to emerge. David Legge and Sun Kim report.
Thank God there’s at least one prominent Democrat in Florida to speak out about this disgusting “donations for vaccines” practice by Trump mini-me Ron DeSantis. The state agriculture official called it “corruption at its worst.”
Researchers say the mRNA-based vaccine and recombinant protein vaccine being trialled are more targeted
The Doherty Institute’s Terry Nolan says it is vital Australia has its own vaccine to prevent supply chain issues
The trials have been expedited to mid-2021 with Federal Government funding
The jaw-dropping speed of COVID-19 vaccine development is a glorious marvel of science, cooperation, and economic planning — a glimpse of how much more an egalitarian world could produce and achieve. But the lifeboat ethics of vaccine rollout is a horrifying display of the inefficiency and cruelty of capitalism.