More experts urge Victoria to drop vaccine segregation

Yesterday I reported how multiple public health experts have questioned the need to lock unvaccinated people out of services once 90% of Victorians aged 12-plus are fully vaccinated.

Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated people who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 may be barred from accessing all but the most basic services until 2023:

“Whether it’s a bookshop, a shoe shop, a pub, cafe, a restaurant, the MCG, the list goes on and on. You will not be able to participate like a fully vaccinated person because you’re not a fully vaccinated person” Premier Andrews said on Sunday.

Now, former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth has warned that Victoria’s plan to impose restrictions on unvaccinated people could backfire. He contends that excluding people from society based on their vaccination status might cause more problems than it solves, and result in increased opposition to vaccination:

“To suggest that for an entire year when your vaccination rates are likely to be above 90 per cent that there are things you would exclude people from participating in for that period of time is likely to rust people on to their opposition to vaccines,” he said.

“If you wanted to encourage people to believe that the government was against you if you didn’t get the vaccine, this is exactly how you would be have.”

Prof Coatsworth said that while he agreed that vaccine passports were useful as a short-term encouragement to get society through the transition phase, “there is a balance to be struck in public policy between legislating to encourage vaccination and exclusion from participation in society”…

“Saying this stuff doesn’t make you some libertarian ‘Freedom Day’ person, it just makes you someone who is interested in balancing public health imperatives with a normal, functioning society,” he said.

Throughout the pandemic, the Victorian Government has employed the strictest COVID-19 control measures. It has also achieved by far the worst results, namely:

  • Melburnians suffered through the longest hard lockdown in the world;
  • Victoria suffered the most daily cases and the most active cases of any jurisdiction in the nation.
  • Victoria has suffered the most COVID deaths.

Victoria’s approach to the unvaccinated is also the polar opposite of NSW, where “proof of vaccination [will be] no longer required by Public Health Order” once the state hits the 90% threshold.

NSW’s cases have continued to fall after reopening weeks ago and its hospital system is coming under reduced strain. So maintaining draconian segregation of the unvaccinated is unnecessary and overly divisive.

Vaccination doesn’t stop the spread of the virus (just look at Israel, which is highly inoculated with Pfizer). Vaccination only protects against serious illness and death.

Those that are double vaccinated should, therefore, not fear or ostracize the unvaccinated, as they are protected.

At some point Victoria needs to come together as one. I believe the “vaccine economy” should end at the 90% threshold, just as it will in NSW.

Daniel Andrews’ job as Premier should be to unite Victorians, not divide them.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. kiwikarynMEMBER

    Well, if NSW cant get its overseas migrants, it can get a flood of new residents from the other States. That’s the benefit of having the loosest restrictions – you become a very attractive place to live.

  2. FUDINTHENUDMEMBER

    “Vaccination doesn’t stop the spread of the virus”

    Yes but it certainly slows it a lot.

    “Effectiveness of full vaccination of the index against transmission to fully vaccinated household contacts was 40% (95% confidence interval (CI) 20-54%), which is in addition to the direct protection of vaccination of contacts against infection. Effectiveness of full vaccination of the index against transmission to unvaccinated household contacts was 63% (95%CI 46-75%). We previously reported effectiveness of 73% (95%CI 65-79%) against transmission to unvaccinated household contacts for the Alpha variant.”

    – Vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 transmission to household contacts during dominance of Delta variant (B.1.617.2), August-September 2021, the Netherlands

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.10.14.21264959v1

      • We’ll soon know whether all this is correct as the northern hemisphere heads into winter. And if it isn’t, then what?

        • How will the Northern Hemisphere experience this winter be informative on the topic of how effective vaccines are at preventing covid infection?
          It will be hard to compare to last year as there will likely be far less stringent restrictions applied unless things get unimaginably bad, partly because vaccinated people who get covid are less likely to go to hospital or die from covid, partly because there is little remaining tolerance for restrictions anywhere.

        • At this stage, we don’t know that is true.
          We know a higher % of vaccinated patients are returning positive tests than are non-vaccinated patients. But that is probably (and hopefully) secondary to a number of biases.
          There is very likely to be selection bias operating at multiple levels. There may also be an element of risk compensation.

          However the graph of this ONS data has recently been coined “the most frightening graph in the world.”

    • Sure, but go and tell that to Israel, which only recently recorded its highest ever cases.

      I also wonder whether there is sample bias. Those that feel sick are more likely to get vaccinated. Those that aren’t won’t get tested but may carry the virus and spread it.

      • Also those that think they are at risk or whom others think are at risk get vaxxed – frontline workers for example. Long term recluses may not give it as much priority.

      • kiwikarynMEMBER

        Singapore now has an infection rate that is equal to Sweden’s peak infection rate (per million of population) back when it was unvaccinated and letting it rip.

  3. @MCBoyah
    We’ll soon know whether all this is correct as the northern hemisphere heads into winter. And if it isn’t, then what?

    Well many governments seem to have lost their enthusiasm for lockdowns. There is increasing evidence they may do more harm than good with respect to health outcomes alone. And of course bad for other outcomes.

    Watch what governments do, not listen to what they say. They are hardly going to say lockdowns were a mistake, that hey had never been tried before 2020, and tried as a result of disinformation from China and WHO. But they seem to have lost their appetite for lockdowns.

    Governments have been confused these past 20 months. Not surprising – it is the first time we have dealt with something like this for decades.
    I think they now realise they can’t control numbers by public health measures and stay-at-home orders.
    They hoped they could control numbers with the vaccine, but that’s also gone out the window. Look at cases in 6 New England states in USA – despite highest % vaccinated in the country. And they are heading into winter.

    So we are left with controlling disease severity with vaccines. And boosters. And boosters.
    That’s “what then.”

    • That’s not very good is it. We spent the last two years doing an impression of King Canute. What were the unintended consequences? We are yet to find out

      • We declared war on the virus. Like many wars, this one was easy to get into but significantly harder to extricate from.

        The government wasn’t willing to concede there was little they could do. So they closed the border (a circuit breaker of sorts). And then they started grasping at straws. And masks, stay-at-home, 1.5m, 4 square metres, reduced capacity on transport, curfews……. It was all made up as we went along, and anything was worth a shot. The harder they tried (Victoria), the worse it got. The solution was invariably a new round of even harsher restrictions.

        Half the Premiers remain trapped by this promise to protect their electorate. Australia is an INCREDIBLY risk adverse society. People made a deal with the devil and decided to trade liberty for some temporary safety. Once the people had been promised “safety”, they sure weren’t going to let go.
        Benjamin Franklin had something to say about this

        To stop you getting sick, all we really have right now are the 2 mRNA vaccines – delivered via Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. The AZ vaccine also of course, but less effective and we most likely won’t be seeing AZ next year.
        https://www.statnews.com/2021/03/02/trump-administration-quietly-spent-billions-in-hospital-funds-on-operation-warp-speed/
        There will be 2nd and 3rd generation vaccines.
        But the two so far have made it easier to live with the virus, and have shifted the calculus towards fewer restrictions. Thankfully Trump decided to press the “go-fast” button on vaccines, and spent the billions.

        We also have an increasing range of therapeutics which have a meaningful impact if you get sick. We have learned more about viral pneumonia these 20 months than in the 20 years prior.

  4. I predict Dan Andrews has well and totally lost the fight over the jihad against the unvaccinated and will backdown very soon. No one supports him, you have lost this fight Dan Andrews. The Vctorian Bar is against you, Nick Coatsworth does not support you, even Tony Blakeley as I understand it does not agree with you. I predict you will backdown very soon and your jihad against the unvaccinated will probably finish sometime in December 2021. Yes in one to two months

    Your jihad against the unvaccinated will not go till after the 2022 Grand Prix in April 2022, and will not be here for all of 2022. YOU HAVE LOST THIS FIGHT DAN. Going Jihad on the unvaccinated when everyone else was opening up for the whole community (ie NSW) left you as a lone voice without any medical / scientific data to back your views. You made a POOR CAREER decision here and will suffer the consequences. No mercy. Of all the decisions to make this was the worst as there is no medicial/science reason to back it up so it could reasonably be considered to just be a vindictive political attack against people of a class (ie unvaccinated) for not obeying you. People wants to make choices in life, not be whipped to death / bullied. We are a democracy remamber where individual free choice is paramount. People hate bullies and do payback on them, especially at an election. YOU HAVE LOST THIS FIGHT, best to back down now gracefully as the longer it goes the more it is going to destroy your political career.

    Even the Victorian Bar is against you. From what I have observed over many years normally legal bodies never say anything and try to be conciliatory. For the Victorian Bar to say your law gives powers like what the STASI had is to tell you how wrong your proposed law is. I have never heard such a blow back against a politician ever from a legal body. You really have made the wrong career choice by being so harsh against the unvaccinated. The Victorian Bar have cut you loose by referring to the STASI when referring to your legislation. I predict you will now suffer much worse from this one decision than all the other decisions you made during the pandemic, as you are now oppressinga particular class of people ie unvaccinated without any medical/science to back it up. And to sideline Brett Sutton, wow, just wow, everyone will now think your news laws are just political only. Think it is best for you to BACK DOWN NOW OR NO MERCY AT ELECTION TIME from the electorate for this jihad against the unvaccinated.

    Voters see through any tricks to cause division between vaccinated and unvaccinated. Plebs are not dumb. We know the pandemic is over and there is only a little bit of residue left. spanish flu was two years, thus this will be over in a few months given started early 2020

  5. Have the elite actually explained why they are imposing vaccine segregation?

    When the elite impose a 60kph speed limit they say it is to save lives. What are they saying about the segregation?
    Is it to gently encourage but not force people to get jabbed?
    Is it to reduce load on the hospital system?

    Do the elite now feel they no longer need to give a justification for their seemingly arse-plucked rules?