NEWS THAT MATTERS
The double dose premier
When it comes to political equivocation, Gladys Berejiklian stands her ground with undeniable absence of difficulty or effort. She has mastered the art of political spin, which is not only evident in her 11am Covid announcement on the ‘box’, it is frankly becoming extremely monotonous. But today, the Premier announced that there would be no more 11am briefings - the community will be informed on a need-to-know basis.
When asked if she was going into hiding, the excuses flowed like a river of BS. And in yesterday's press briefing she said that she didn't care if 30 per cent of the State wasn't vaccinated, "they have been warned." She then went on to say that she didn't want to be around people that aren't vaccinated. "That's my choice," the Premier said.
If you are Premier of the State it might sometimes be difficult to avoid an unvaccinated individual. So, what is Gladys Berejiklian really telling us? She won't be running at the next election?
Even though she closed today's press briefing with "people can judge me on my record', those words may be more prophetic than what the Premier realised. Grapevine opinion surveys have clearly shown that on the Central Coast the majority of residents are not happy with Gladys Berejiklian's handling of the Covid crisis; opinions that would no doubt be reflected in the greater part of Sydney.
10 September 2021
THE population of NSW expects that their leader and their elected representatives to be transparent and tell them the truth during the current pandemic lockdown - not to dance around the truth, or in the case of the Health Minister Brad Hazard doing a dummy spit because he doesn’t want to answer the tough questions directed to him by journalists. Our ‘double dose’ Premier is little more circumspect with well thought-out patter to ignore the question - thanking the front-line workers has become her favourite line.
And let’s face it, ‘double dose’ has become the catch phrase to the Premier’s Covid freedom. You just don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the numerous times she says ‘double dose’ during her morning television announcement. The clockwork key has been wound, the spring is compressed tight, the mouth opens and out it comes: double dose, double dose, double dose, ad infinitum.
And you can tell when the Premier is trying to avoid a journalist’s question, or even being forthright and giving a truthful answer - she holds her face mask with both hands down in front of her and fidgets with it. A ‘tell’ that would give any ardent poker player a decisive advantage - knowing their opponent was bluffing.
So where does all this fit, in the Premier’s morning dose of ‘covid salts’ and in particular the stay-at-home orders for adults.
According to the Premier’s latest announcement stay-at-home orders for adults, who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, will be lifted from the Monday after NSW passes the 70 per cent double vaccination target, according to the "Roadmap to Freedom" released yesterday.
And that roadmap, according to the Premier, is subject to further fine-tuning and health advice if circumstances change drastically or if cases within a designated area remain too high.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “we are well on the way to hitting the 70 per cent double dose milestone, which will allow the state to open up for those who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Whoa!! Hang on a minute!! According to the Australian Government’s ‘Operation COVID Shield’, as of today only 42.7 per cent of the adult population in NSW have had a second covid vaccine dose, although the Government claims that today that figure has climbed to 43.6 per cent - not a big difference. On the Central Coast the amount of people who have received their second jab is 35.5 per cent.
The mixed bag "Roadmap to Freedom" announcement by the Government will have some Central Coast residents looking towards a positive future and others who have been unable to secure a vaccination as yet, particularly younger people who only just became eligible, looking like they will be still in Lockdown into 2022.
Those people aged 16 – 39 only became eligible for their first vaccination jab from the end of August resulting in them joining the queues of people particularly waiting for Pfizer or Moderna.
Member for The Entrance David Mehan said the Berejiklian Roadmap isn’t supported by any of the resources the Central Coast needs to achieve the Government’s target, with many Coasties still having difficulty accessing the vaccination of their choice and, if they can’t work from home, support for workplace protection is non-existent.
“The Central Coast needs vaccines, small business support and strong solutions to support Coasties beyond lockdown, rather than this labyrinth into the unknown."
Only last month the Grapevine reported that according to the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, that if the second dose of AstraZeneca was given under twelve weeks, and between four to eight weeks as being touted by the Government, its efficacy would reduce to 55 per cent. This data was backed up by Oxford AstraZeneca, the manufacturers of the vaccine. So, given that approximately 76 per cent of the State has received their first dose in recent weeks, how can the Premier's targets be meet?
The community would be forgiven for smelling a ‘political rat’, considering Berejiklian had previously been talking up hitting the magic number of 70 per cent by mid-September, not mid-October. But of course, regardless of the changing banter, the Premier has given herself the political ‘get out of gaol free card’ - it’s the Monday after the magic number is achieved, which still may not be as quick as the Premier is leading everyone to believe.
Let’s not forget the second part of the roadmap to recovery announcement by the Premier: “When NSW hits the 80 per cent double dose target, the government intends to open up further freedoms around international travel, community sport, major events and other areas.”
One of the major hurdles with all the announcements has been accessing the Pfizer vaccine for the under forties, which seems to be the vaccine of choice.
And what about the Central Coast? Although second dose vaccination rates are hovering around 36 per cent, we still need the vaccines. As reported yesterday, the Central Coast vaccination rates have slumped from 7th to 15th in NSW, the result thought to be linked to poor vaccine availability.
The Government also needs to give strong support to Central Coast small business owners who will be on the frontline of policing the new rules.
It is also incumbent on the Federal Government to ensure there are enough supplies of vaccine to meet demand.
David Harris, Shadow Minister for the Central Coast, said he will write to the Premier asking for some of these issues to be addressed prior to any system being implemented.
“Small business owners will be in the frontline of policing the sign in process to see who is vaccinated and who is not. Small business owners and staff want to concentrate on getting their business back on track and not be checking people’s vaccination status and then refusing entry to those that don’t meet requirements,” said Mr Harris.
“The community has been calling for the Berejiklian Government to release its roadmap for reopening the state."
The Premier's plan may sound great, but any roadmap for the future must account for the lower vaccination rates in regional communities like the Coast and ensure our community’s health is not put at risk.
Member for Swan Yasmin Catley said that "the Berejiklian Government must ensure the Coast is one of the first in line for future Pfizer supplies."
The cold reality is that the Berejiklian Government, as has the Morrison Government, has forgotten the real issue - community health. Instead, politics has become their most important agenda - protecting their political skin by rushing to open up the country. But at what ultimate price?
Grapevine News Online
Central Coast NSW
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE to the Grapevine News Online and to the monthly e-book edition of the Grapevine Community News. You will receive an email notification every time a news story goes live, keeping you up to date with what is happening in your community.
Our online news update and monthly newspaper is about real local news and events. We will not spam you or share your details with third parties.