Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack wants us all to relax when it comes to Australia’s bungled COVID-19 vaccine rollout because, as he explains, “it’s not a race”.
Cool! Let’s just live with the lingering threat of community transmission and random, snap lockdowns like we’ve just seen in Victoria because mass immunisation is tEcHnIcAlLy NoT a CoMpEtItIoN.
If it were a competition, we’d be doing pretty abysmally. Despite being one of the richest and least-affected countries in the world, Australia only ranks around 90th place when it comes to the portion of the population who’ve been fully immunised.
While people in those other 90-odd countries are no less deserving of being vaccinated than us (you could even argue that people in badly-affected countries are more deserving of being urgently vaccinated), it speaks more to the utter ineptitude of the Australian federal government that so few of us have been given the jab(s) despite pretty much every factor being on our side.
“It’s not a race, it has to be systematic, it has to be rolled out in a way that Australians obviously need to know that they have to get the jab,” McCormack told Sky News on Sunday.
“But we can’t have everybody going and getting it at the same time, and that’s why there has been a phased-in system, you know, and there has been a bit of complacency.”
While his point about the phased rollout is fair enough, the fact that McCormack said we’re not in a hurry is completely at odds with the fact that we are in a race… against a fucking global pandemic.
We’re pretty lucky in Australia to have minimal community transmission and relatively few deaths, but as we’ve seen with the recent spike in community transmission in Melbourne, we can’t coast on our inadequate hotel quarantine system forever.
Perhaps McCormack chose this language to hide from the fact that the government has repeatedly and spectacularly failed to meet its own damn immunisation targets this year, targets which were consecutively reduced as the months rolled on.
In fact, Victoria’s acting Premier James Merlino said as much at his daily press conference on Thursday.
“The vaccine rollout has been slower than we have hoped. It’s not where we hoped it would be, it’s not where it should be,” the acting Premier said.
“If more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a very different set of circumstances than we are today.”
At the time of writing, around 2% of Australian adults have had their two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, be it Pfizer or AstraZeneca.
Health Minister Greg Hunt can go on breakfast TV and inflate those numbers all he wants, but at the end of the day, our immunisation rate is really, really disappointing.
We need to get vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid another potential wave. Besides, it would also be nice if we could safely open up to the rest of the world again, too.
If you haven’t already, you can see if you’re eligible to get vaccinated here.