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Vax work mandates ease today
But not for everyone. And we won't forget.
Covid vaccination work mandates ease in WA today.
This move is, of course, “based on health advice.”
Workers in a range of industries - including building, hospitality and mining will be able to return to work after up to 6 months of sitting at home in forced unemployment. Great news for families and individuals who have accumulated debt from living off savings for half a year, and great news for industries that are desperate for staff.
However, it’s important to note that some mandates stay in place - notably in health, disability and aged care settings. It is also worth noting that while the government no longer compels businesses to keep mandates in place, medical discrimination is still allowed at the discretion of the business. This means that we still have workers sidelined in industries that are buckling under worker shortages.
Last week, the Today Show ran a feature questioning the triple dose vaccination requirement for healthcare workers in Victoria, where the health system is under considerable strain.
One nurse, fired from a regional Victorian hospital after refusing the booster, told Today, "You are disposing of experienced, qualified staff and I don't think this is going to solve all the problems if mandates are lifted, but it would be something that would help."
The Victorian AMA president Dr Roderick McRae insists that booster requirements are necessary, stating, "But the booster dose, it's almost like it's the first dose related to the Omicron variant. It provides enormous protection."
“Almost” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. The third shots that we are using as boosters in Australia are the original vaccines designed to target the Wuhan strain. An Omicron-specific vaccine is in the pipeline, but has not yet received approval.
And enormous protection - from what? We know the effects of booster shots wane significantly within weeks. We know that Covid outbreaks in triple jabbed communties happen all the time - like this triple vaxxed only cruise ship that brought a heap of new cases into WA.
In the same Today piece, Liberal Democrat David Limbrick notes, "The rationale was to stop workplace transmission. As everyone knows, just because you have the vaccine doesn't stop you getting COVID-19 or transmitting it. We have to question whether what they're doing is a proportionate response."
Consider the aged care home that a friend of mine was not allowed to enter for two years to see her dad in case she gave him Covid (which she did not have). He contracted Covid instead from either the triple vaxxed staff or the triple vaxxed residents, or the triple vaxxed visitors.
And while some will go back to work, we should pause to consider what these work mandates have done to people, to communities, and to our society at large. Perth Now journalist Ben O’Shea thinks the biggest problem facing businesses taking the unjabbed back into the workplace is “antivaxxers” spreading conspiracy theory nonsense and dissent by the water cooler. Bitchy rhetoric like this underscores the bigger problem at hand. The seeds of division sown by our leaders and reinforced by our media have grown a bitter root in families, sporting clubs, workplaces, churches and so on. See: Language is important.
There are plenty of jabbed people in the workplace and in coming weeks we will see the return of thousands of unjabbed workers to their jobs. But will these people forget? I don’t think so. Remember, it’s not just the unjabbed that are hurting. This photo was taken in a Perth doctor’s surgery two weeks ago.
We are a COVID Vaccine Clinic.
COVID Vaccines are MANDATORY in some industries.
All Vaccines have to be consented to.
As we are a very busy clinic there may be some wait periods and there are alternative locations.
PLEASE DO NOT abuse our staff if you feel coerced into your Vaccine.
This paints a pretty different picture from Ben O’Shea’s characterisation of the double and triple jabbed workers as smugly expecting “gratitude” and “contrition” from the returning unjabbed. How many upset and aggravated people came through this clinic crying coercion before the staff made a sign specifically asking people who feel coerced not to get upset at the staff? It is a mistake to assume that everyone who got the vaccines did so willingly. It is a mistake to assume that those who were forced into unemployment are the only ones who are angry.
This is not over.
Hero To Zero is an advocacy group for Australian healthcare workers who are unemployed due to mandates. Check them out here.