World Vaccine Refusal Doesn’t Just Cost Lives. It Costs Money.
Young Australians' hopes for an overseas holiday could be dashed
Australia had been aiming to open its international borders beyond New Zealand from the end of October when every citizen was expected to receive at least their first vaccine dose. But that timeline is now almost impossible to meet following Thursday's announcement the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine - which Australia had purchased the most doses of - was no longer recommended for under 50s, only the Pfizer jab.
Imagine it’s 2026. A man shows up in an emergency room, wheezing. He’s got pneumonia, and it’s hitting him hard. He tells one of the doctors that he had COVID-19 a few years earlier, in late 2021. He had refused to get vaccinated, and ended up contracting the coronavirus months after most people got their shots. Why did he refuse? Something about politics, or pushing back on government control, or a post he saw on Facebook. He doesn’t really remember. His lungs do, though: By the end of the day, he’s on a ventilator.
You’ll pay for that man’s decisions. So will I. We all will—in insurance premiums, if he has a plan with your provider, or in tax dollars, if the emergency room he goes to is in a public hospital. The vaccine refusers could cost us billions. Maybe more, over the next few decades, with all the complications they could develop. And we can’t do anything about it except hope that more people get their shots than those who say they will right now.
Decision about AstraZeneca's use in Australia to be make this week
An urgent investigation was launched into the potential side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine after a Melbourne man who received the jab was hospitalised with a rare blood clotting condition. Experts have been holding talks with European regulators to determine whether the 44-year-old's low blood platelets and 22 other similar cases in the UK are linked to the vaccine. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) will convene on Wednesday to weigh up the risks and benefits of AstraZeneca jabs once further information is provided from international discussions.
Iffollow through, the costs of their decisions will pile up. The economy could take longer to get back to full speed, and once it does, it could get shut down again by outbreaks. Variants will continue to spread, and more people will die. Each COVID-19 case requires weeks of costly rehabilitation. Even after the pandemic fades, millions of vaccine refusers could turn into hundreds of thousands of patients who need extra care, should they come down with the disease. Their bet that they’ve outsmarted the coronavirus or their insistence that Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates were trying to will not stop them from going to the doctor when they’re having trouble breathing, dealing with extreme fatigue, or struggling with other lasting effects of COVID-19. (A of COVID-19 survivors are diagnosed with a neurological or psychological condition within six months of recovering from the initial illness.)
Doctor reveals 'worrying' symptoms to look for after AstraZeneca jab
One of Australia's leading doctors has revealed the warning signs people need to look out for after a man was hospitalised with a rare blood clotting condition after he received the AstraZeneca jab.Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd addressed concerns surrounding the vaccine on Friday.
The economic costs of vaccine refusal aren’t yet a major part of the political conversation. That’s likely to change as we move past the first year of the pandemic. “You have a liberty right, and that unfortunately is imposing on everyone else and their liberty right not to have to pay for your stubbornness. And that’s what’s maddening,” Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, told me. Inslee is 70, and fully vaccinated. The three-term Democrat was in a good mood because he was on his way to see his baby granddaughter, whom he hadn’t hugged in a year. But after what he’s gone through since early 2020—the first American COVID-19 outbreak and the first explosion of COVID-denialist demonstrations were both in Washington—he’s angry and sad that so many people are refusing to get their shots.
He had the latest numbers: 15 Washingtonians had died of COVID-19 the day we spoke. More than 300,000 state residents who had been eligible for a vaccine for at least three months still hadn’t gotten one, including 27 percent of those over 65. Some of those people hadn’t been able to get appointments. Some may have been nervous, but would eventually get a vaccine. Some had just refused, and will continue to do so. Those people are “foisting [their] costs on the rest of the community,” Inslee said. “There’s a long, long economic tail of disease prevalence as a result of people who refuse to get vaccinated.” But, he stressed, “it pales in comparison to people losing their lives.”
Vaccine-themed gear is in high demand on Etsy
A lot of sellers did well selling cloth masks. Now some shops are turning to vaccine-themed gear.The popularity of vaccine-themed swag is a sign that people aren’t just showing up to get their shot, they’re actually excited to share news of their inoculation and spread the word. That enthusiasm is important as vaccine eligibility continues to open up across the United States and public health campaigns continue to try to reach Americans that are still apprehensive about getting the shot.
Inslee read me some data he had gotten from the Republican messaging maven Frank Luntz, which the governor said was going to inform new public-awareness campaigns that the state is developing to break through to Republican men, the people most likely to say they won’t get vaccinated, according to polling. Two appeals seem to work best: First, the vaccines are safe, and they’re more effective than the flu vaccine. Second, you deserve this, and getting vaccinated will help preserve your liberty and encourage the government to lift restrictions. (That last idea is what Jerry Falwell Jr. focused on in the vaccination selfie hethis week, captioned, “Please get vaccinated so our nutcase of a governor will have less reasons for mindless restrictions!”) Inslee hopes that emphasizing those points will persuade more Republican men to get their shots. But he’s not sure it will work.
The prospect of lower health-care costs has led conservatives to back health-related regulations in the past. In 1991, Pete Wilson, then the Republican governor of California, signed a law mandating helmets for motorcyclists, and made a conservative argument for the new regulation. “We don’t know exactly how much money and how many lives will be saved with this legislation,”. “But we do know that the cost of not enacting it is too great for a civilized society to bear.” Then again, President Ronald Reagan , which also reduce health-care spending.
Australia needs to rethink its Covid-19 vaccine rollout, doctor says
Epidemiologist professor Nancy Baxter says the Federal Government won't reach its target to have the entire population vaccinated by the end of the year if they continue on the current trajectory. 'We need to do it faster than we were hoping before, if we're hoping to get everyone vaccinated by the end of the year,' she told Weekend Today. Her doubts come after several setbacks to the vaccine program, which include a delayed rollout and advice, from the country's chief immunisation authority, against the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Though there are some notable vaccination holdouts among Republican officials, most in Congress and in state leadership positions have encouraged their constituents to get the shots. “I saw on some program last week that Republican men, curiously enough, might be reluctant to take the vaccine. I’m a Republican man, and I want to say to everyone: We need to take this vaccine,” Senate Minority Leader. Brad Wenstrup, who worked as a podiatrist before becoming a Republican congressman from Ohio, has been so eagerly promoting the vaccines that he got trained to administer them. But the Republican politics around COVID-19 remain treacherous, and when I reached out to several Republican members of Congress, telling their aides I’d be eager to have them make a Wilson-esque fiscally conservative argument for vaccination, I couldn’t find anyone willing to make that case to me.
Calculating the exact long-term costs is tricky; we have only a year’s worth of data on the lasting health consequences of COVID-19, and even less on the efficacy of the vaccines and Americans’ resistance to getting them. Krutika Amin, who conducts economic and policy research for the Kaiser Family Foundation, tried to sketch out what the taxpayer bill might be. Before the pandemic, aboutin emergency rooms alone. About , at an average cost of $20,000 per stay. COVID-19 has been reliably shown to make pneumonia worse. In April 2020, a Kaiser Family Foundation study projected that the cost of treating just COVID-19 cases for the uninsured . If even close to 30 percent of Americans get COVID-19 because they refused to get vaccinated, Amin told me, you’ll see a massive spike in health-care costs.
Here's why the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine is recommended for over 50s but not other Australians
But if you're wondering what Australia's vaccine changes mean for you, or whether it's still safe to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, here's what the expert advice is saying.With the government accepting advice that the small risk of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine means it should not be given to people under 50, its plan to vaccinate Australians against the virus is in disarray.
Kathleen Sebelius, who spent five years as Barack Obama’s secretary for health and human services, told me that about a quarter of Americans are children, and so far, no vaccine has been approved for use in people under 16 years old. If all adults who say they’ll get a vaccine get one, barely more than half of the country will be immunized, which is far short of herd immunity. In kids, “we have a very vulnerable population where we know they may not get as sick and die as much as adults, but they can get sick and die,” Sebelius said. “We have to think about this a little bit like secondhand smoke. By making an adult choice, you’re putting a whole lot of other people at risk in a way that very few other choices do.”
As lockdowns are lifted, Sebelius hopes that vaccine passports will create social pressure, which might wear down hesitancy if unvaccinated people are barred from sports games, concerts, and other public events. But the political divisions on that are already clear, with leaders such as Republican Mississippi Governor Tate Reevesto stress that he wants his constituents to get vaccinated, but that he’s opposed to vaccine passports. Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed a preemptive executive order banning them. Although this resistance may halt any federal vaccine-passport efforts, some states and many private companies are independently exploring the idea. So is .
Once getting a vaccine appointment is easy and health departments have filled the airwaves with PSAs, will 30 percent of Americans still say they won’t get a shot? Public-health officials and government leaders hope that vaccine hesitancy will drop.that could happen. In the meantime, winding down restrictions on gatherings will likely maximize the spread of concerning variants, Sebelius noted. Health complications for vaccine refusers who catch one of the new strains could be even worse than those caused by the original strain, she said. “We are still very vulnerable to things coming our way, and anybody who has not taken at least this preliminary precaution has no idea what’s going to hit them,” Sebelius said. For the unvaccinated, she said, the threat of COVID-19 “is not getting better.”
It’s not getting cheaper either.
Mass Vaccination Is a Show of American Might .
The U.S. stumbled early in the pandemic, but the vaccine rollout could reboot the country’s image.Now a different technology is shifting global politics: the coronavirus vaccines—or, quite possibly, vaccines more broadly. Unlike nuclear weapons, vaccines don’t have the potential to end life on Earth, and their production and distribution will never require rigid rules to limit who gets them. Indeed, the international institutions being created to govern vaccine distribution are designed to promote proliferation, not restrict it.