The Federal Member for Macarthur, Dr Mike Freelander MP, has described the national vaccine rollout as ‘a poorly managed approach to public health’.
Currently, only 183, 800 Australian’s have been fully vaccinated, or 0.72% of our total population. Additionally, only 7% of Australian’s have received their first vaccine jab; with leading epidemiologists warning that we will need to double our current rollout rate to have any hope of our borders reopening this year.
“The current rate is simply not good enough and the government must develop a sense of urgency about vaccine rollout.” Dr Freelander states.
“Our rates for administered dosages and for fully vaccinated individuals is severely lagging behind other nations, including the United Kingdom (46.6 million doses administered), Spain (14.7 million doses administered) and the United States (230.7 million administered); all of whom have larger populations yet are making significant leaps ahead of us.”
Dr Freelander is also calling on the Morrison Government to provide additional support to nations in our region, stating that “More must be done for our neighbours with their vaccination needs, particularly Papua New Guinea and Fiji, who are closely linked to our nation. I also believe that we have an obligation to support our region.”
The situation in India is also of grave concern and for many of Macarthur’s Indian community, it is a challenging time.
“I am saddened to see the tragic situation unfolding in India and my heart goes out to those affected.”
Australia must support India during this tough time, as they are a true friend of our nation and the world’s most populated democracy.
“I do support though the temporary halt of flights from India until May 15, as it is important in our pandemic risk management. We must also support Australian’s stranded overseas and provide them with relief and assistance as soon as possible.”
“It is increasingly clear that we are nowhere near through this pandemic and the tragic situation in India displays this. There is still much to learn, and we must remain constantly vigilant.”
The need to be vigilant is no better represented than in our hotel quarantine system, which is a weak point in our fight against the virus due to the risk of aerosol spread.
As such, Dr Freelander is calling on the Federal Government to strongly consider replacing our hotel quarantine system with a more sustainable isolated quarantine system.
“Hotels are not designed to be quarantine facilities; the evidence shows us that the aerosol spread of COVID-19 is very real throughout hotel facilities. We have cases of individuals who were negative upon arrival in hotel quarantine later testing positive due to an infected individual spreading the virus on the same hotel floor.”
By utilising remote facilities, such as the facilities in Howard Springs, it will severely reduce the risk of outbreaks in metropolitan communities like those we have seen in Melbourne or Sydney over the past year.
Further, whilst being an avid fan of the event, Dr Freelander is calling for Australia’s Olympic team to not attend this years Games in Tokyo; citing the slow vaccine rollout in the country.
“It pains me to say this, but with Tokyo this week reporting its highest new COVID cases since January and with less than 100 days until the Games, I do not believe it is safe for our Olympic squad to travel and compete.”
Australia has done very well so far in this pandemic, with tough decisions taken by governments of all persuasions. Many decisions are not easy and can sometimes be controversial, but they should always be based on the best possible scientific evidence.
There is still much to learn, and we have a long way to go, for now we must maintain our vigilance and ramp up our vaccine rollout.