Overnight AstraZeneca announced that their University of Oxford (UK), the covid vaccine was the global front runner, being most progressed and ready to use in early 2021.
The even better news is that it has been pronounced 94% effective, and works on older people as well as the young. This news is what we have all been wanting to hear as most of us can’t wait to get inline for our covid vaccine and move on with our lives.
Covid Vaccine News
In Australia, just when we appear to be avoiding a second wave, Adelaide has had an outbreak of covid, and the city has been forced into a six-day lockdown as authorities deal with a growing cluster in the city. Businesses, Schools, Cafes, and Pubs have all closed to stop transmission of the virus from occurring.
The cluster came from a Quarantine hotel and has so far spread to 22 people, and what the authorities are concerned about is that it appears to be a new strain that spreads quickly within one or two days of infection-causing it to spread fast and further.
Covid Vaccine Development
The vaccine cannot come soon enough as people are getting very tired of being locked down. Adelaide will follow the 6-day lockdown with a partial 28-day lockdown, which is extremely damaging to the economy. In today’s editorial, the Daily Telegraph (19.11.20) pointed out rudely that’At least the state’s economy is safe from damage. As you can’t hurt what does not exist’.
There are currently six covid-19 vaccines in clinical trials in Australia. Two are, (1) Covax-2019 and SARS-Cov-2S clamp ( University of Queensland) are both being developed and trialed. We may get the AstraZeneca vaccine first, as we have paid for an enormous amount which should give our country early access. However, it would be fairer to distribute the initial vaccines widely.
Covid Vaccine Australia
Pfizer and BioNTech are developing a vaccine jointly, and if it is proved safe it will be available for use in Australia from early 2021. As Australia has entered into 5 different agreements for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, we seem to have covered all bases and, $3.3 billion has been invested in order to progress the vaccines and stop the spread of COVID-19. Before the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is approved for Australian use it must pass the TGA ( Therapeutic Goods Administration), assessment, which is occurring about now.
We were first affected by coronavirus restrictions back in March/ April 2019, when we became aware of it. A small outbreak occurred from a cruise ship, which unfortunately spread to every state. International borders were quickly closed and various restrictions were placed on social gatherings.
A limit of no more than 500 people could gather in the same outdoor place. Restrictions were also placed on visitors at aged care facilities, as it was important that the disease did not spread amongst vulnerable people.
People were encouraged to have a coronavirus test, and testing stations were erected outdoors and throat swabs were taken. People were warned about social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing, and wearing masks on public transport and in crowded places. QR codes (quick response) were introduced for contact tracing.
Coronavirus Work Restrictions
Many offices and workplaces closed, and people were encouraged to work from home. Schools closed and children had to be homeschooled, and this was very hard for overloaded parents. Many people lost their jobs, causing hardship, and an increase in ‘ new start’ benefits was doubled to assist Cafe and Restaurant workers whose place of work was closed due to the epidemic.
Many people have started new businesses from home, and some say that the way we work will never be the same again. Many families have been unable to visit family interstate and feel extremely isolated by the outbreak. Relatives have died and family members have been unable to attend the funeral due to strict border restrictions.
Coronavirus Restrictions are Easing
In NSW Restrictions are now easing, and we can have a gathering of up to 20 people from different households, and most states have now opened their borders. The coronavirus Health Information Line is still running hot, and it is important that people continue to social distance, hand wash, and use hand sanitizer.
Summer is coming, and many restaurants and local councils are encouraging outdoor dining to keep people in the fresh air and out of crowded spaces. We are fortunate in comparison to the rest of the world and if current conditions prevail, Christmas should be nearly normal.
I now realize how much we are ‘hanging out’ for the vaccine, as no one will be able to safely leave Australia until we are vaccinated. International air travel is almost non-existent in our country, except for a few grateful ex-pats flying in and going straight into Hotel Quarantine.
Health Workers During Covid-19
As with most outbreaks, Healthcare workers have borne the brunt of the coronavirus, and reading the papers daily, and talking to colleagues many of the health workers have caught coronavirus in the workplace, in spite of rigid infection control guidelines in place.
It is extremely infectious and is not a disease that any Healthcare worker wants to take home with them. Through the epidemic, we have learned a lot about the disease and infection control, and what to do better next time. It looks as though the only real protection is to wear a full face mask in health settings like hospitals.
However, you view 2019 has not been a very good year for most of us, and we will be glad to put it behind us. We can only hope that the vaccines clear their final hurdle and we are able to have them sooner rather than later.
After that happens we will be able to look forward to traveling again. A world without coronavirus would be a much better place to live in. I only hope that something worse does not take its place, to stay safe, hand sanitizing and social distancing are definitely here to stay.