Former federal deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth was interviewed on Sky News and in a response to the question ‘so who are the people to listen to, Nick?’ from Peter Stefanovic, he replied: “Well, I think when you hear your leaders speak; I mean, there’s a difference between experts and leaders, Pete. I think that experts, sure, give the view as you see it, that’s fine, within your swim lane, because some experts work in a very narrow sphere, Pete, but they’ve had a sort of creep in terms of what they’re asked to comment on, and they don’t seem to mind swimming outside a swim lane. So, my advice to people is listen to the leaders, primarily. I’ve got some very, very close colleagues on ATAGI [Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation], but we’ve got to keep in mind, that not a single one of them ever had to make a decision like this [on who gets AstraZeneca] in a pandemic before.”1
I am over 60 and have had my first AstraZeneca vaccination, and have the second one in a few weeks2. Why did I get it when there are clearly risks of clotting with the AstraZeneca vaccine? Because it was recommended by ATAGI for people my age.
I have two children who are in their thirties and I am deeply concerned for their and their spouse’s health should they be forced to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. They may have to get this vaccine if the spread of the Delta strain gets further out of control in Sydney. That we are in this position where people have to choose between a vaccine with very rare fatal side effects or a very dangerous virus, is solely because of the monumental mishandling of the vaccination ‘strollout’ by the federal government. If the government had taken the offer of 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for delivery in January 2021 we would be in a much better position, and Morrison would not have felt like he needed a brain-fart in an attempt to make himself look good, by foisting the AstraZeneca vaccine on people who ATAGI recommended should get the Pfizer vaccine3. The number of people who have died because of Morrison’s incompetence is yet to be fully calculated, because we probably still have many months of the pandemic to go, especially in Australia. If Coatsworth was thinking about Morrison and not some state premiers when he was talking about ‘leaders’, then he is sadly mistaken or delusional. If it came to a choice between listening to Morrison or the experts of ATAGI, give me ATAGI every time. In addition, if I had the opportunity, I’d ask Coatsworth how many deaths of those under 60 from blood clots, are an acceptable cost to speed up the bungled vaccination ‘plan’?