The new reality

In Australia, low Covid-19 case loads have given us the luxury of considering vaccination as a non-essential option. But that won’t always be the case.

As Australia begins to re-open its state and national borders it’s likely that some privileges will be granted only to those who are fully vaccinated.
As Covid-19 begins to circulate more freely through our society – which is inevitable in a post-restriction Australia – those choosing to remain unvaccinated will be at far greater risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.
In those early stages, when natural immunity among unvaccinated people is almost non-existent, it is vital that we continue to do everything possible to prevent large outbreaks that place the kind of pressure on our health system that we have tragically seen unfolding overseas.
Even an outbreak among the minority of unvaccinated people could be devastating – not only for them and their families – but also for the medical system which is not designed to cope with the hundreds of hospitalisations and intensive care admissions that could follow.
Bird in Hand Winery’s decision to allow only double-vaccinated patrons into their premises from mid-November has sparked significant backlash.
But if we’re going to end lockdowns, open borders and return to some semblance of normal life, it may not be long before privileges for the vaccinated are common place – at least in the short term.
In Australia vaccination is – and seems likely to remain – a choice.
But every choice comes with consequences.
After months of uncertainty, temporarily excluding unvaccinated patrons may be the only option some business owners see to prevent future forced closures that could arise if their business is linked to an outbreak.
Likewise, temporarily limiting the privileges of people who choose not to be vaccinated may be what some governments see as the only way to protect our healthcare system until – either through infection or vaccination – enough of the population is immune to stave off the risk of a large outbreak.
In a free society, it is important that privileges are re-instated when the risk is gone.
But until then, we need to face the reality that some restrictions may remain for those who choose not to protect themselves.