Jobkeeper was set to end shortly and Jobseeker that had seen a double of payments for those on benefits at the beginning of the pandemic was going back to the original amount but would see an increase of $25 per week. Recipient obligations were due to increase too. The number of people getting support has decreased and this was seen as a way to hopefully manage this latest transition with minimal harm to the economy. Also with less people on the dole it would be easier to play hard ball with them now.
Same old song.
The increase came at a cost of $9billion dollars to the government. That gave someone on the dole $4 extra a day.
On the second day of the Pfizer vaccine roll-out in Australia with 1,200 jabs adminitered the hope was to have 30,000 completed by end of the week.
When interviewed on Channel 9 Australia, Infection Disease physician Professor Sanjaya Senanayake noted, ” The reality is if we want to get 75% of the population vaccinated by end of October we’ll need to do a lot more than that. Probably about a 150,000 people per day but I think it is very reasonable to start slowly and ramp up and iron out any wrinkles.”
He also suspected around mid year the Novavax vaccine may become available too. The interview highlighted that the vaccine rollout was highly ambitious in comparison to what had been achieved so far overseas.
In the United States of America over half a million American lives had been lost to COVID.
The loss of life figure equivalent to the loss of life experienced during September 11, 2001 being repeated every day over a six month period.
The U.S. had reached more than 400,000 lives lost barely more than a month earlier.
President Joe Biden remembered the fallen.
In New South Wales there were further easing of restrictions including having 30 people on the dance floor come Friday rather than just the bridal party.
Fifrty visitors can vistir your home, larger numebrs in churches, cinemas and gyms.
Standing up and have a beer in the pub come March 17 too which was St Patrick’s Day.
More than 3,000 people had been vaccinated in the past 48 hours in the state.
Closer to home in the first week of administering vaccinations to the elderly two aged care residents in Carseldine, Brisbane recieved four times the prescribed dose by a doctor who had not yet completed his online COVID vaccination training.
The Doctor working for Healthcare Australia took too many doses out of the six dose Pfizer vial.
Fortunately the Healthcare Australia nurse working with him identified his mistake.
Despite this he administered a second dose before she raised the alarm again and this time he ceased.
The doctor was stood down by Healthcare Australia and referred to the industry regulator.
Those who received the dose were an 88 year old woman and a 94 year old woman who were rushed to hospital for close observation.
Such a bungle so early on in the vaccine roll out in the country was not the best for growing confidence in the general public to get vaccinated.
Media was already reporting that the vaccine was not being delivered to aged care homes as scheduled which already suggested targets would not be reached.
Having contracted the job out to Healthcare Australia and Aspen Medical the Federal Government was looking to structure their re-election campaign on successfully delivering the vaccine throughout the country but media attention was shifting to a horrifying alleged rape scandal in Parliament House and further allegations were to follow.
“The future of the Morrison government rests of getting the vaccine rollout right,” said Channel 9 political editor Chris Uhlmann.
Jobkeeper was due to end, at the height of the pandemic it kept 3.6 million Australian employed now that number was down to 960,000.
As we neared the 12 month mark of COVID taking off in Australia the roll back of the increased JobSeeker payments (with a $4 a day increase from pre-Covid rates) and the cessation of Jobkeeper was to slow government spending and reflect ongoing economic activity.
There was no doubt anxiety being felt by those affected particarly businesses and employees that had been kept going by these initiatives.
There were different ideas being put forward for specialised industry support.
Following the bungle in Carseldine, the CEO Of Healthcare Australia stood down. Scheduled vaccinations across Sydney were cancelled. The aged care residents who received the overdose of the vaccine were continuing to cover in the Prince Charles Hospital. Thank goodness for the quick and brave actions of the Healthcare Australia nurse who stopped further overdoses being administered.
When interviewed, Prime Minister Scott Morrison offerred, “This is an enormous vaccination that we are doing across the country as we said. It is unprecedented in scale and scope and the people working on this are the best in the world.”
In other news as Qantas looked to return to international travel in October they posted a 1.1 billion dollar loss in the first half of the current financial year.
In Ghana the first delivery of COVID vaccines from the UN backed COVAX initiative arrived in the African nation. 600,000 free doses of the AztraZeneca jab arrived free of charge for use.
On the 25th of February, 2021 the World Health Organisation reported there had been in Ghana 81,245 confirmed cases. There had been 584 deaths reported in the West African nation of 30 million.
In the United States the Johnson and Johnson vaccine got closer to being approved for emergency use by the Food and Drugs Administration.
As a side note I was at the Prince Charles Hospital for a medical appointment. I had been to the hospital during COVID we went past a sign about signing in.
My wife started signing in like we often did when going to venues, she seemed faster. I wasn’t even sure if we were in the right building.
I came to a desk and was asked by a nurse if I had signed in and advised that my wife was doing it but I was told I had to do it.
In the confusion another nurse came by and started asking me questions.
I asked the first nurse if I could sign in and was told no so advised I would go back to the sign and use the app.
When I came back the second nurse was asking why Karen was wearing a mask. Because we were in a hospital we explained as a precaution for the safety of our health care workers.
The nurse explained it wasn’t a requirement of health guidelines at the moment as if it had raised her suspicions.
I explained we were just trying to be helpful. Later we walked past very elderly volunteers offering assistance in the hospital corridors.
The kind of people I was thinking about when I wore a mask when health guidelines said I did not have to.
In a few days no hospital staff would think twice of a visitor wearing a mask. Besides staff were wearing masks.
While the federal government had its setbacks with the aged care roll out of the vaccine, the New South Wales government planned to go bush starting March 15 with major hubs set up in Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Newcastle, Wagga Wagga and Woollongong to administer the vaccine across 99 satelittle sites to health and border workers before GPS would administer to the local populace.
The state government had administered 10,000 jabs during the week.
As New South Wales reached another milestone, having administered 5 million tests for COVID since the pandemic hit the state.
In the United States of America there was good news after a long deadly winter that had claimed too many lives while a President formented anarchy rather than spared one thought on how to save lives.
Having reached half a million deaths earlier in the week, there was now hope to be found in lower case numbers, hospitalisations and daily deaths reported.
A third vaccine loomed on the horizon for use from Johnson and Johnson who promised they could deliver 17 million doses by the end of March and 100 million by the end of March.
The drug was one shot and did not require refrigeration and carried a 72% efficiacy rate.
Pfizer and Moderna between the two of them were promising 220 million doses by the end of March. Enough to have 110 million American vaccinated.
The two companies were also working on vaccines to prove effective against variants.
It was noted on Planet America that countries with 14% of the world’s population accounted for 53% of of orders from the Top 8 vaccines including all of Moderna’s production for 2021 and 96% of Pfizers.
Programs like COVAX and the advice of Boris Johnson at the G7 summit only rang more true in light of this.
We’re only going to get through this if we do it together.
Despite the lower efficiacy rate, the J&J vaccine also had milder side effects, is cheaper and has a billion dollar doses to come in 2021. Johnson and Johnson was shaping up to be the vaccine that would be delivered throught the third world.