/ 14 July 2021

Something sweet to soften the blow

NSW reported 89 new local COVID cases yesterday, along with the 2nd death linked to the outbreak. Of the new cases, 21 were infectious in the community, and 75% were close family contacts. Premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to deliver an update today about how long the lockdown of Sydney and surrounds will last, but reports say it’s likely to extend for another 4 weeks. This means two things: $5.1 billion in financial support from the government and more changes to the official advice on vaccines…

On the dollars, it’s a new formula that the Federal Government hopes it doesn’t have to roll out too often. There are a few ways “to ensure the lockdown can be maintained to arrest the latest outbreak,” PM Scott Morrison said yesterday. Eligible individuals will receive between $375 and $600/week in increased disaster payments, and small and medium businesses can access up to $10,000/week in support payments. NSW is also putting its hand in its pocket to help fund the package. As for vaccines, people under 60yo living in areas with COVID-19 cases should think about getting the AstraZeneca vaccine if they don’t have access to a Pfizer shot, officials now say. It’s the most recent in a series of changes to the advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) in the wake of rare but serious blood clotting disorders resulting from the AstraZeneca jab.

Whoa up, Nelly… Oz is said to be falling to the back of the pack when it comes to securing more supplies of the Pfizer vaccine for future years compared to other developed nations. But it’s something World Health Organization says is a big no-no. Earlier this week, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said rich countries with already high levels of vaccination should back off to give other nations a chance of getting their supply of first-round vaccinations. And there’s still confusion around whether or not boosters are needed, at what point, and for whom.

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