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641 要對社會進行新冠病毒教育

Educate the public on Covid-19

新州疫情爆發,每天感染人數超過800人。維州實施嚴格的封閉隔離, 暫時把新的個案約束在100宗以內, 現時仍未知能否把病毒傳播壓抑下去。不過, 政府已表明, 保持社交距離及佩戴口罩, 不足以阻止病毒擴散, 只有全面接種疫苗, 是唯一出路。

按照聯邦政府的策略, 當疫苗接種率到達到合資格人口70%, 澳洲將會進入第二階段, 不應再使用封閉隔離, 而要讓社會回復日常運作。研究模型顯示, 只要保持適當衛生措施, 及適當的社交距離及接觸者追蹤, 就能遏止病毒大規模爆發。而當接種率增至80%時, 澳洲就應開放邊境, 可以與世界各國接軌, 讓留學生、遊客及外地勞工回來, 全面恢復澳洲的經濟活動。

按照現時接種疫苗速度來看, 在年底前這是大有可能達到的目標。一直以來, 輝瑞疫苗供應量不多, 再加上阿斯利康疫苗的安全性受到質疑, 令到疫苗接種無法高速展開。聯邦政府原來的接種規劃, 是在使用阿斯利康的假設下進行, 因此實際上不達標, 而且制造出對疫苗的抗拒。

不少人要等待「更好的」輝瑞疫苗, 卻漠視現時有的600多萬劑即時可用, 世界其它國家盼得到而無法取得的阿斯利康而不用, 令自己因未有接種疫苗而陷於危險之中 。令到這情況出現的, 是各級政府官僚都要負上責任。

雖然聯邦政府正努力購買包括莫德納在內的疫苗, 但在短期間供應仍無法應付所有人的需要。而若對接種疫苗的抗拒持續, 澳洲要進入常態將可能要到明年初之後才能達到。所以現時政府一定要大力宣傳及教育, 並且實施有效的政策, 來改變不願意接種疫苗的人的想法。不然, 澳洲社會仍無法擺脫新冠疫苗的威脅。

當然更要緊的, 是大家要明白, 接種疫苗只能保證感染了病毒的人生命不會有很大威脅, 並不表示不會受到感染, 因此還需要以保持社距離、佩戴口罩、保持衛生等措施, 來面對仍然存在於社區的新冠病毒。因此, 政亦要同時加強對抗疫的教育, 不然,仍是解決不了問題。

周偉文 社長

Educate the public on Covid-19

Covid outbreak continues in NSW with daily case number exceeding 800. With tighter restrictions Victoria is keeping it below 100 but still with an uncertain outcome. The government has made it clear that only vaccination could save us down the road, not just through social distancing and mask wearing.

According to the government strategy, when the national vaccination rate reaches 70% we will enter into Phase B of returning to normality that lockdown would rarely be used. Research modelling tells with good personal hygiene, social distancing and contact tracing, we can control the spread. And by 80% vaccination we should re-open border to the outside world such that international students, tourists and workforce can return to recover our national economy.

Our vaccination program has been in good progress to make this happen by the end of the year. There has been struggles caused by shortage of Pfizer and hesitancy on AstraZeneca. Government original vaccination plan assumed a smooth AstraZeneca rollout, so it is an off-track and has induced vaccine hesitancy in general.

Many here are waiting for the “better” Pfizer to come, while six million doses of AstraZeneca are sitting idle here, yet there are many countries in Covid crisis without adequate supply of vaccine. The various tiers of government should be held account of this phenomenon.   

Although the government is stocking up vaccine such as Moderna, it is not sure whether our short-term supply can be met. We may only return to normality by early next year if public mindset on vaccine cannot be corrected. So the government must vigorously promote and educate with an effective vaccination program in order to come out of the Covid threat.

More importantly we should remember that vaccination is to protect us from severe medical complication rather than to eradicate any spread, hence social distancing, mask wearing and personal hygiene  have to stay to combat the virus. The government must better educate the public as a solution to the pandemic.

Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher