/ 22 February 2021

History made as Australia gets jabbin’

THE SQUIZ
Jane Malysiak yesterday received the first shot of the nation’s COVID vaccination program. Lining up with 11 others including PM Scott Morrison, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, and Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan, the 84yo World War II survivor/aged care resident said it was too important not to get vaccinated. And then she inadvertently flipped the bird… Morrison said he got his jab to show Australia the vaccination program is “good to go” from today.

THAT’S A LOT OF SIGNALING…
Because building confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the COVID vaccines that will be administered to Australians will be crucial to the program’s success. And the government’s campaign that “it’s safe, it’s important” got a bit harder this week because of the stoush with Facebook. More on that in a sec… Anti-vaxx protests on Saturday underline concerns about forces pushing against the COVID immunisation program. And with an official survey released last week finding that 27% of Australians are unsure about getting a jab – efforts to boost confidence will be a thing in the coming weeks and months.

BUT VACCINATION IS GETTING UNDERWAY TODAY, SO CAN WE RELAX?
Insomuch as anyone can relax during a pandemic – but probably not if you’re an infectious diseases expert in Russia and the World Health Organisation. The nation has reported the first cases of animal-to-human transmission of the H5N8 strain of bird flu. It came to light yesterday that 7 workers were infected at a Russian poultry plant in December. They are well now, and no cases of human-to-human transmission have been detected. The H5N8 strain has been detected in birds across the world since 1983, and that’s led to widespread culling to stop the spread. But this is the first time it’s been found in humans – a development officials say they have under control.

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