全世界陷在新冠疫情中已經超過一年半了, 世人對整個世界的想法, 和之前已經不再一樣。
中國處理疫情, 由中央下令嚴格控制人民行動自由, 雖然被西方社會視為沒有顧及人民的個人權利, 同時間也被看為迅速及有效的回應, 更被不少西方政客仿傚。美國為民主大國, 災情卻是最為嚴重。不過在去年底, 憑藉高科技及大量投入資源到疫苗研究, 得到最有效的疫苗, 今天疫情可以說是受到控制。英國最初提出要讓國民大量感染病毒, 達到群體免疫效果,當時受到社會壓力而停止下來, 不過今天隨著年老體弱者多已接種疫苗, 雖然在Delta變種極速傳播之時, 英國仍將全面開放, 要把新冠疫情視作已經被解決了的問題, 走出疫情困局。
不過, 全球不少貧窮國家, 或是像澳洲一樣沒有受到很多感染的國家, 大部份人都未有機會得到疫苗, 可以供應給國民接種, 因此仍然在新冠病毒的威脅之下。但不少先進國家, 卻已在要求藥廠把精力放在生產加強劑, 給國民接種, 務求要得到最好的保謢。明顯地, 這種只管自己安全, 不看別人需要, 是能得到國民的認可,但我相信有一天在疫情過後, 這只會是大家都會後悔的決定。
澳洲是小國, 沒有與大藥廠討價還價的能力。明顯地, 聯邦政府沒有為澳洲人爭取到合理的疫苗供應。直到今天, 澳洲全面接種了疫苗人數不足10%, 是先進國家之中最低的。主理疫苗供應的官員部長, 難辭其咎, 該受責罰。分配疫苗給全國各地居民的制度, 不斷更改, 令人無所適從, 更因此而令澳洲人產生對疫苗的猶豫, 可能導致澳洲人, 要長期維持隔離狀態, 社會無法回到正常運作。
由下週開始, 輝瑞疫苗會大幅增加供應至每週100萬劑, 可以說是稍為改善了情況, 但聯邦政府仍需努力, 繼續開拓更多疫苗的供應, 才能解決問題。而且, 提高分配疫苗的效率及藉教育澳洲人接種疫苗已變得更加重要。不能等到澳洲人不願意接種疫苗, 才去想辦法解決將要出現的問題。
在這過程之中, 向多元文化社區作出強力宣傳, 是最關鍵性的行動。維州政府在去年七月病毒第二波爆發後, 成立多元文化專責小組統籌抗疫宣傳, 大大改善了情況, 是聯邦政府及新州政府應該學效的做法。
A way out for the pandemic
The one and a half years of the global pandemic has changed how everyone sees the world.
The Chinese government strict approach in containing the pandemic has proved to be effective and is being borrowed by the western governments despite they regarded it as contrary to human rights. The super democratic United States has become the top victim. High technology and vast resources have made vaccines possible by end of last year which helped to contain the crisis. Although the UK had given up the initial idea to achieve herd immunity through mass infections, with now most of the vulnerable population having been vaccinated, the government is thinking of opening up the country amid the Delta risk as attempting to solve the deadlock by ignoring the issue.
There are still many poor countries in the world or some like Australia where the infection is not that widespread where vaccine rollout is far behind to protect their people. But advanced nations start focusing on booster production to maximise their protection. This selfish act may be praised by their nationals now but will be regretted down the years.
Australia is a small nation with no bargaining power with pharmaceutical enterprises. Obviously, our government failed to get the best for the nationals. To date we have less than 10% of the population vaccinated being the lowest in developed countries. Officials of the nation’s vaccination program are to be blamed. Our national system of vaccine allocation keeps changing, the lack of direction has made people feel hesitant to get vaccinated. This will keep Australia in prolonged separation and abnormality.
From next week Pfizer will boost supply to one million a week. This will be an improvement but the government must work hard to keep up our vaccine stock. It is also important to improve the allocation efficiency and to educate the public on the need for vaccination before it is too late.
In this process, it is crucial to propagate among the multicultural communities. After our July crisis last year the Victorian government did set up a multicultural task force to improve the situation since then. The Federal and NSW governments should follow suit.
Raymond Chow, Publisher