IT was just a short, sharp pain for Jane Malysiak, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and all the other priority patients who have so far received the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia.
But what may seem routine was a year ago the subject of dreams as economies closed, streets emptied and the world held its breath. Leaders spent many of the early days in the coronavirus pandemic that for many of us truly began in March last year warning that a vaccine may never come, that it could be dangerous to pin our hopes on such a silver bullet. Now, in our country, we have two. Pfizer's product is the one that has entered the systems of those jabbed so far, though most of us will ultimately receive the AstraZeneca version as our shield against the virus that derailed so much for so long.
The task ahead is certainly medical, but also a logistical feat. We in the Hunter remain eager for full details on when the first needles will be readied in Newcastle and the wider region, but given the tribulations in other areas it is perhaps understandable that a region that has escaped community transition for so long is not at the pointy end of the operation. That said, there are many front-line workers and vulnerable in our communities who could benefit from greater protections soon.
Given so many - researchers, firstly, but also contact tracers, health workers, Victorians and all those who have taken the dire prospects of wild spread so seriously - have done so much so quickly, it is perhaps surprising that a seed of dissent lingers.
A Newcastle Herald poll in recent days found just shy of 82 per cent of respondents would get the vaccine. Indeed, a mention of the global rollout itself earned boos from the crowd at Sunday night's Australian Open men's final. That it occurred days after crowds returned to matches following a five-day lockdown, precisely the kind of imposing measure the vaccine will purportedly put an end to, is puzzling to say the least.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has been clear that it will not rush its consideration of whether the vaccines were safe for consumption, ultimately deciding that they were. Facing accusations of jumping the queue, federal leaders inoculated on Sunday were quick to point out they were putting their money where their mouth was as they urged people to seek out vaccination.
In such fear-laden times, hesitation is perhaps understandable. The antidote is to examine the detail through reputable sources and expert advice. There are blanks to be filled by health authorities as the rollout continues, and filling them quickly is an important step to prevent misinformation and conspiracy theories flourishing.
As the Prime Minister said on Sunday, the hope is that each day from now will become a bit more normal. Hopefully we will one day look back and see, instead of a protracted and unpredictable era, a short, sharp dose of pain before the vaccine spelled the beginning of its end.
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