Posts tagged ‘Covid-19’

AstraZeneca, blood clots and Australia

Australia has followed the lead of a few European countries in curtailing the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccines, due to the extremely low, but still existent, risk of dangerous blood clots. Last night the government announced that it would now be “recommended” for under-50s to get a different vaccine instead, of which Australia had only ordered Pfizer, and only enough to partially cover …

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Bookmarked “‘Just a simple fact’: Australia raises stake in vaccine war with Europe”

Original post found at: https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/arguing-semantics-australia-raises-stakes-in-vaccine-war-with-europe-20210407-p57h1a.html

Australia is under contract to buy 3.1 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses that have been manufactured in the EU, but the EU has blocked their export. OK, so Australia has hardly any Covid-19 cases, unlike Europe, so fine. But our near neighbour Papua New Guinea is experiencing a horrific wave of cases, so apparently our government asked that 1 million of these doses, that we’ve already bought, be sent there… and the EU is still refusing. They say we should our own domestic manufacturing capacity to supply PNG, even though that’s coming along at a snail’s pace. And the EU’s own export controls state that exports should not be blocked to low- and middle-income countries (PNG being one of the former), so… seems like they’re overreaching out of resentment against Australia, with PNG as collateral damage in the process?

Why I'm Anxious to Get My Covid Vaccine

Here in Australia we’re very behind the target our own government set for vaccinating the whole population, so I guess it’s a good thing that we’ve virtually eliminated the virus here in the meantime. (Occasional leaks from hotel quarantine notwithstanding.)

I’m keen to get the vaccine as soon as I can, because I have a pre-existing condition that I think would make …

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Bookmarked “Teachers and Their Unions Are Demanding Truly Safe Schools Reopening — Not “Ignoring Science””

Original post found at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/02/teachers-unions-schools-covid-reopening/

Thought this was a good piece. The article talks about what’s happening in the US, but we had a similar debate here in Australia as well. Business groups and the conservative federal government insisted that schools had to stay open to provide daycare for working parents' kids, while teachers' unions, most epidemiologists, and state governments wanted kids to learn from home.

There are so many reasons why remote learning is the safest move in areas where Covid-19 is rife. We know that while children are at a lower risk than the average of serious illness, they still do contract and transmit the virus, and schools could hardly be built to better facilitate contagion if they tried. Cram 25+ people elbow-to-elbow into a room with poor ventilation, either use reverse-cycle air conditioning or tell people they can’t do that, instead requiring school to take place entirely in the freezing cold in the winter, have hundreds of people intermingling constantly, guilt-trip and bully anyone who tries to take sick days so as to ensure maximum infection-spreading… yeah, awesome safe environment you’ve got there.

And while it’s obviously important to talk about children’s needs, what I never see from these “open the schools!!!” fanatics is any discussion of the needs of teachers, or anyone else who works in schools. Children may be less likely to develop severe disease from the virus, but adults working in schools are not. Many of those workers will have pre-existing health conditions that put them at higher risk, or have close loved ones (spouses, parents, etc.) with such conditions. And you can’t re-open schools for children without also putting all of those adult workers in the same environment. As a casual relief teacher with a disability and vulnerable loved ones, I would not have wanted to accept work when the virus wasn’t under control here (so it was fortunate there was JobKeeper to cover my income and schools were mostly closed). If I were in the US… I shudder to think.

Of course, it’s important to continue outreach and make sure vulnerable kids still get their needs met. I think it’s disingenuous for politicians and business leaders to claim that teachers don’t care about this, when teachers are the major group who actually do that. In Victoria at least, vulnerable kids and the kids of essential workers still went to school, which operated with a skeleton crew of workers who were not at high risk themselves. In general, I think it’s school staff – not politicians – who are best-placed to determine what measures hit the right balance between supporting students and avoiding unnecessary risk. That’s why I support these teachers' unions 100%.

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.