FOR weeks now, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been urging people to get the jab by saying that the quicker NSW reaches 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination rates, the earlier the lockdowns can ease.
With any carrot comes a stick, and Ms Berejiklian brought out that stick at her 11am media conference yesterday, by announcing that the easing of restrictions, promised from October 11, will be heavily skewed towards the vaccinated.
Repeatedly, Ms Berejeklian said her announcements were "a bad day" for the unvaccinated, who would have to wait a month or so for the freedoms allowed to the double-shotted from October 11.
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The premier also stressed she did not want to see October 11 tagged as "Freedom Day", because she wanted people to show common sense and not abuse the newly eased conditions.
Still, the subtext of the government's message is unmistakable.
There will be freedoms, but only for those who agree to join the majority.
A government statement listing the changes is headlined "freedoms for fully vaccinated people".
Deputy Premier John Barilaro says bluntly that "the message to the unvaccinated is you will not achieve any further freedom until you get vaccinated."
Such a stance would be political suicide if vaccine supply was still a problem, so the government must be confident that individual reluctance will be the only limiting factor in driving to 80 per cent and beyond.
The Premier's timing was helped by yesterday's count of 787 locally acquired cases being the lowest since late August, but chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant expressed concern about the Hunter - with another 42 cases yesterday - and the Central Coast.
Crucially, Ms Berejiklian acknowledged that case numbers will jump again when people begin to move more freely after October 11.
This is when we will see how well "the road map" works.
Officially, Australia does not have compulsory COVID vaccination but the dominant majority will have its way, bit by bit.
Those who hold out against the jabs will find themselves increasingly excluded.
Anyone seeing this as an invasion of civil liberties might like to look at the situation in the US - home of the anti-vaxxer movement - where deathbed conversions to "the science" come too late.
Apart from impractical, total, isolation, vaccination is the only real protection.
For all of us.
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