The community needs to take action
The major point of concern is, there seems to be vaccine hesitancy in the population of Halls Creek. That is a major point of concern considering the pandemic that we have at the moment, and the fact that the fourth wave of the pandemic seems to have entered Australia and is now spreading in the community. It is most severe in the Eastern states, but it is now within the community and being transmitted from person to person.
I think the Federal Government and the State Government of Western Australia is doing a good job in trying to control this. There is a lot of sacrifice they are making in terms of economic growth and development.There’s a lot they’re sacrificing to try and contain this. The current control tools are closing the borders, limiting international travel, quarantining people from outside the country, lockdowns – for the places that are already affected – and contact tracing… That is what the governments are doing to help the community in Australia. But in all cases, where you have a disease outbreak, there are several stakeholders who must take action.
While the governments are taking the right course of action, we need the community to do the same. What is lacking in Halls Creek is the community’s part in controlling this, in making sure that we don’t get devastated by the outbreak. Social distancing, washing your hands,maintaining good hygiene, and wearing a mask, using QR codes or registering in public places are some of the ways the community can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But the most effective tool for the control of this disease is vaccinations.
Health experts talk about “herd immunity” where a population achieves a certain amount of immunity against the disease and that tends to prevent outbreaks, or severe infections and deaths in populations. Currently, the estimate is that when we have 70-80% of the adult population vaccinated, we will achieve herd immunity. But the big fear now is that we can reach 70-80% of the Australian population, when actually within our own Shire, we are way less than 30-40% in terms of people vaccinated.
Social media and misinformation
There is a lot of information circulating. Let’s face it: misinformation is spread through social media. Every time we see something sensational on Facebook,we share it. If you are sharing misinformation, then more people will be reached with that misinformation.
The problem is that the media puts so much emphasis on that one case of a vaccinated person who gets side effects, that it begins looking like everybody will get it. We have hundreds of thousands of people that have been successfully vaccinated, and only a handful who have gotten blood clots or side effects, for instance.
Those hundreds of thousands of people are protected from severe COVID-19 disease, and yet, there is so much emphasis on the one person who gets side effects. We should note that our medical services can manage the reactions and side effects from the vaccines.