covid-19 vaccine coronavirus test lab
(Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

Crikey readers won’t let their voices be drowned out when it comes to the troubled vaccine rollout. While they are divided on personal experience, they all agree on one thing: the need for speed, consistency, and effective messaging.

Elsewhere readers reminded us all of another vital fight: that of Witness K and Bernard Collaery.

On the vaccine rollout

Maureen Peck writes: The vaccine rollout is reminiscent of the NBN rollout: Australians are provided with second- or third-rate products, there is much hype about how well the federal government is managing and, lo and behold, we are left trailing the rest of the world.

The question as to why Australians are provided with shoddy products may be answered by the money that the LNP government’s backers will make: News Corp with the NBN, forcing Australian to keep using its TV services; and the big consulting firms with the vaccine, getting paid millions for incompetent advice and management.

David Lecomte writes: I am category 1b. It took many hours of many calls to three of the GP clinics in my area to get one that would answer. After nearly a week of attempts I got through, and then I had to have a standard consultation. I was asked a list of questions that seemed designed to find a large number of possible reasons to disqualify me for a vaccination, and received a lecture on the risks of having a vaccine. Notably, not one word was spoken of the risk of not having a vaccine, considering my age and health.

I was 11 or 12 when we did a mass vaccination for polio in 1966. Were these done by GPs? No! The vaccinations were done in school halls, town halls, theatre halls. All over the country, all at the same time.

Clearly no one listens to anyone over 65, because anyone my age knows that this current plan is not how a mass vaccination is done. Why would they be so arrogant as to assume that copying the past, or another country, is the wrong thing?

Lewis Mac writes: Australia’s vaccine rollout has to be quicker. When will politicians realise nothing will truly return to normal until the country is vaccinated? Yes, Australia has been lucky in basically having a normal living life over the past year but the population of Australia is made of many migrants — they have relatives all over the world who have been unable to reunite because of restrictions on flying.

I lost my mother in the first week of lockdown last year. I was unable to attend my own mother’s funeral. I have to say, there is a complete lack of compassion when something like this happens. Do you think Morrison would be pushing a quicker response if he was in my position?

Nicola McKay writes: Lucky, lucky me. Not because I’m a healthcare worker, but because of who my employer is: Melbourne Health. I received the email about the vaccination hub at Sunshine Hospital on March 30, booked online there and then, and had jab number one the following morning at 9.45am. It was sensational. Not because I feel a little bit safer, but because I witnessed a triumph of organisation and professionalism.

From the bloke who pointed to a parking spot, to the young man directing me to reception, to the delightful healthcare workers managing check-in, to the two smiling nurses in the cubicle — one for the details, the other with the syringe — the whole process, at a mere 15 minutes car door to car door, offered such reassurance and comfort around the vaccination. Many of the cubicles were unoccupied and there were lots of staff who are probably used to being much busier. But the purpose-built hub was clean and slick and… happy. We were all doing our bit.

How disappointing to discover that healthcare workers who are based in regional Victoria, or those in rural aged care are still languishing without a vaccination or a timetable. Once again our “egalitarian” society is shown to be just another “who you know” system arbitrarily benefiting some and not others.

On Bernard Collaery and Witness K

Joe Wards writes: Thank you for the opportunity to add my single voice to what should be a calamitous, pot-banging roar led by the opposition and minor parties to honour Bernard Collaery and Witness K instead of hounding them with the might of government under the pretext of national security.

The whole sorry saga of what our country did to Timor-Leste will forever, and rightly, be a scab on our collective face. That a rich country like ours would brag to the world how we faced the wrath of Indonesia and bravely brought independence to one of the smallest, poorest countries on earth while behind closed doors conspired to cheat them of their chance to rise out of poverty, beggars belief.

Cry, my beloved country. An apology doesn’t even come close to the thanks Australia owes these two great men who put their own careers on the line to expose what was being done.

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