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Saturday, 26 June 2021

Back into lockdown we go

After several months of relative normality since the North Beaches region of Sydney was in lockdown (I was still working from home (by choice), but DS1 was going to his new job in the city on most days, DS2 was attending school and sports training and events, and DW was working PT and going out and about socializing) it looks like the whole of Sydney will soon be in another period of lockdown (only going out for work if you can't work from home, and staying at home except for shopping for food, exercise (subject to limits on how far from home you're allowed and the max size of groups exercising out-of-doors), and to get medical care etc.). This latest outbreak started from a single limousine driver being exposed to the delta variant of Covid-19 from an international aircrew, and from there it spread to family members and the local community in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. One 'super spreader' event (a party where ten of the thirty guests caught Covid-19) and some community transmission and we're now in the situation where new cases numbered 29 in the past 24 hours, and some of those cases occurred outside of the area already in lockdown. Given the more contagious nature of the delta variant I suspect we'll see most of greater Sydney put into lockdown by the end of next week.

(** update: just a few hours after I wrote this the entire Greater Sydney area was put into two weeks lockdown for the next 14 days **)

Unfortunately the roll-out of the vaccination program has been a quite slow in Australia. The government has placed orders for five different vaccines last year, but two didn't work out, and our biggest supply was for the AstraZeneca vaccine that can be produced locally, but which has turned out to have some more serious potential side-effects than was initially known. The Pfizer mRNA vaccine seems to be a better option, but limited supplies initially meant it was only available to those aged under 40 (where this risk of blood clot complications from the AZ vaccination was greater than the risk of Covid-19). Subsequently that was raised to under 50, and recently those under 60 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

But being eligible doesn't mean you can get vaccinated immediately. DW and myself are both under 60 (until the end of this year!) so we've booked in for the Pfizer vaccine. The earliest available date for the first injection was in September, so we won't be getting the second jab (and likely have immunity to Covid-19) until late October.

Meanwhile community spread of Covid-19 and subsequent lock-downs remains 'situation normal', probably until the end of the year when sufficient numbers of people have been fully vaccinated to slow the rate of spread of any future outbreaks.

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