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When you can’t trust the leader…

One month ago, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that it is his government’s aim to have four million Australians vaccinated by the end of March, with a target to roll out 80,000 COVID-19 vaccinations per week by mid to late February.

First, do the maths and see if you think this is honest.

Then consider for a moment what kind of leader makes a vaccination announcement that is so glaringly untruthful it can’t be rationalised as a careless mistake by even the most committed sycophant.

You might conclude, as I have, that the Prime Minister doesn’t give a toss what he says about the vaccination rollout, as long as he says something.

Two days ago, Mr Morrison told the media that our vaccination program is “on track” having clearly forgotten his January announcement, or else consigned it to his dustbin of announcements without substance that is, by now, surely filled to overflowing.

Strangely, nobody at the press conferences where Mr Morrison has insisted we are “on track” has bothered to refer him to his January claims, or indeed, asked him to define what “on track” actually means, given those claims.

But wait. There’s more. On the ABC Insiders program today it was stated that the vaccination roll out will begin next week. I asked for the source of this claim, because there is no such information on the government health website. 

 

 

As yet I’ve received no reply and I don’t really expect that I will, to be honest.

What I would like to know is why Insiders is apparently gifted with this announcement when the information is not available on the government website, and no politician has confirmed that the Pfizer vaccine has even arrived in the country.

It is mid February. No roll out has been announced. We will not achieve a vaccination rate of 80,000 by the end of this week, and neither will we reach the four million figure pulled out of somebody’s nether regions by the end of March. We are not “on track.” We are very far from “on track.”

On January 25, the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine, which is expected to cover around 20% of the population. However, as of writing the Pfizer vaccine has not yet arrived in Australia from Europe and some 80,000 -100,000 doses are reportedly expected next week. These will be batch tested before they are rolled out, adding another week to the estimated wait time.

Then there is the AstraZeneca vaccine, to be used for the majority of us. There are 50 million doses in production on shore (or as Mr Morrison likes to call them, “sovereign” doses) while we are importing 3.8 million more. This vaccine has not yet been approved for use by the TGA.

So as of writing, there is, in fact, no vaccine at all in Australia that is ready for use. But don’t worry. We are on track!

On February 4 the PM had the chutzpah to announce that given our “sovereign” production rate, we would begin vaccination before New Zealand, due to start in April. But that isn’t true either, dear readers! New Zealand will start its Pfizer roll out on February 20, 6 days from now, when we may or may not have our vaccine and even if we do, it won’t be ready for use!

Mr Morrison has repeatedly referred us to the government health website for up to date and reliable information on matters to do with COVID-19. However, as mentioned above, you will find no indication on that site of when the vaccination roll out is due to begin.

But what you will find on this government site is a statement by infectious diseases expert Dr Nick Coatsworth that COVID-19 “is definitely not an airborne pathogen”: (thanks to @SusanSmithAus for alerting me to this)

COVID-19 is definitely not an airborne pathogen. When you have airborne pathogens, like measles for example, the basic reproductive number that we’ve all come to know so well is much higher than what it is for COVID-19 – so, so definitely not an airborne. It’s got- this is a droplet pathogen which means it settles on surfaces. Once it is coughed up or expectorated it tends to- it drops to the ground very quickly. And that’s why hand hygiene and physical distance are our most important measures, and will be our most important measures particularly when we start opening businesses that they that they enable processes that allow us to keep our distance from each other until we have a vaccine or effective treatment.

Yet on January 16, a group of senior scientists, health and safety experts and doctors claimed that:

Failure at a federal level to acknowledge COVID-19 is transmitted through the air has been putting the community at risk…Leading scientists said the virus could be leaking through our border controls because authorities have not put in place precautions that provide the greatest possible protection from airborne transmission.

On ABC QandA last Thursday evening, Professor Coatsworth was forced to defend his position on aerosol transmission. On February 4, experts claimed that the neglect of aerosol transmission was clearly a gap in Australia’s quarantine system.

In short, the federal government’s health website tells us nothing about when we can expect vaccines to be rolled out. It does, however, convey misleading information on the airborne nature of the COVID-19 virus, misinformation that is causing considerable consternation as experts work to address ongoing infections associated with quarantine hotels.

It would seem a futile exercise, to attempt to mislead the community about something like a vaccination roll out. It’s not as if we won’t notice that we aren’t getting the needle. However, this is what Scott Morrison does. He’s entirely focused on the announcement and entirely disinterested in the substance. Unfortunately, no one in the media seems to have charted his vaccine announcements or confronted him about their lack of substance.

While the majority of Mr Morrison’s announcements are not concerned with life-threatening matters and are generally misleading, exasperating, hurtful and deeply disappointing, the COVID-19 situation demands from a leader clarity, straightforwardness and trustworthiness.

None of these requirements are met by Morrison, or any of his ministers.

Morrison must have known, when he made his announcement one month ago, that there was no possibility of vaccinating 80,000 people in February and 4 million by the end of March. He must have known this, and yet he delivered this message to the country anyway. This is not how we need a leader to behave in these circumstances, or any other.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

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9 comments

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  1. David Stakes

    Yep #scottyfromannouncements is on fire. #LiarFromTheShire

  2. Elaine Richardson

    Interesting that the infectious diseases expert, Nick Coatesworth, stated that the virus is not transmitted by airborne particles. I wonder, in light of the nebulizer situation in the Holiday Inn outbreak , if he might review his thinking on that. Might be time to update the website accordingly. Much as I’d like the hotel quarantining of incoming international returnees be flicked back to the Commonwealth Department of Hhealth, the thought that we’d be in safe hands if Morrison was in charge of it fills me with grave misgivings. He couldn’t give a tuppenny stuff about anything other than massaging his own massive ego. It’s a huge impost on the states to handle this, but I feel so much safer that they are….. which, of course, suits our Prime Announcer down to the ground.

  3. Kronomex

    Anyone care to lay the odds on Saint Scotty of the Marketing and the Marketingettes having already had the better Pfizer shots? No Astrazeneca for the born to rule, that’s only for the little people.

  4. New England Cocky

    OK, I will bite on the Mathematics challenge … now let’s see …
    1) Today is the Ides of February, 140221, so there are (14 + 15) days to the Ides of March on 150321.
    . 2) No vaccinations announced as being done yet (although political sceptics may speculate that Scummo & Co have already been jabbbed with Pfizer vaccine), so (14 + 31= 45 days) to end of March. .
    3) Four MILLION (4,000,000) Australian vaccinated by 310321 is a work rate of (4,000,000/45 = 88,888.9) persons per day proposed vaccinations. Morriscum proposes 80,000 vaccinations per week. .
    4) Vaccinations to begin next week, earliest date 220221, so (7 + 31 =38 days) to 310321 requiring (4,000,000/38 = 105,263.2) persons per day proposed vaccinations .
    5) some 80,000 to 100,000 Pfizer doses expected next week plus batch testing earliest start date for vaccinations now 010321 requiring 31 days to meet 310321 target date, so (4,000,000/31 = 129,032.3) persons per day proposed vaccinations ONLY IF 100,000 Pfizer doses available.
    .
    The conclusion by Dr Jennifer Bailey is correct; “We are not “on track.” We are very far from “on track.””
    .
    BUT WHAT IS WORSE IS THAT THE MEDICAL FRATERNITY HAVE BEEN MISLEADING THE COMMUNITY ABOUT THE DYNAMICS OF COVIS-19 INFECTION SPREAD.
    .
    Even my mate Blind Freddie could see from Day 1 that:
    .
    a) Air-conditioning ducting for enclosed large spaces like cruise ships, motels, office blocks etc have partially recycled air to reduce heating/cooling costs … that increases the re-circulation of COVID-19 particles, increasing the possibility of infection for persons in those spaces. Moreover these air-conditioning systems are frequently designed on the leaf vein pattern of a master (primary) duct with secondary ducts leading off to geographically clustered rooms; Remember the Bad Building Syndrome AKA Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in the 1980s caused in part by contaminated (used) air outlet ducts facing and blowing into the fresh air inlet ducts.
    .
    b) Being a saliva borne pathogen, ALL saliva should be considered infective until proven otherwise, both droplets and and the micro-droplets known as aerosols; the medical fraternity religiously refused to consider aerosols.
    .
    c) Early in the pandemic data was available showing that face masks reduced the projectile distance of coughing and the spread of saliva by up to 99%, yet the politicians refused to mandate or endorse the wearing of face masks in any public places, especially metropolitan peak hour public transport. Did the politicians think that wearing face masks would convert all members of the Hellslingers Cult of Greed & Paedophile Protection to Islam??
    . The conclusions by Dr Jennifer Bailey are correct.
    (i) ”[N]o one in the media seems to have charted his vaccine announcements or confronted him about their lack of substance.” .
    (ii) ”[T]he virus could be leaking through our border controls because authorities have not put in place precautions that provide the greatest possible protection from airborne transmission.” . (iii) ”[T]he Prime Minister doesn’t give a toss what he says about the vaccination rollout, as long as he says something.”
    .
    PLUS (iv) Professor Coatesworth may be a pretty face for television, but he appears to have allowed himself to become a Morriscum Marionette dancing to the uncaring whims of a deranged Prim Monster who has stated that prayer will save everybody. ?????

  5. Chabo

    @New England Cocky
    Mate, acting as a political whore to Morrison worked for the last CMO, Brendan Murphy. He was rewarded with a plum public service job making almost a $1m a year.

  6. Sean Crawley

    Mainstream journalists in the Australian media are so fearful of losing their jobs they allow government propaganda to go unchallenged.

  7. New England Cocky

    @Chabo: Agreed. The same thing happened in Germany 1933 to 1945 where kissing the anus of the Fuhrer earned bountiful rewards at public expense. As Jack Lang was reported as saying; ”In a horse race always bet on Self interest. At least you know that it will be trying”.

  8. OnceWasALiberal

    As a member of a prosperity religion Morrison’s only sacred requirement is to be rich enough for the gods to love him. If truth or fairness impedes that, they are clearly rejected in favour of the need to be rich enough for the gods and to maintain your right to kick and abuse all those with less.

  9. leefe

    When did we last have a national leader we could trust?
    ScoMoFo, Turdball, the Mad Monk … of course LJH set the ball rolling with his “non-core promise” concept.

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