Support, don’t condemn, those who are fearful

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Support, don’t condemn, those who are fearful

I am an under-50 health worker, so yes, I needed to get the jab. I hesitated at first, even cancelled a few times, then realised it was the only defence we have. I have been vaccinated and am apprehensive about any long-term effects but that is OK. I did not need to have my worry dismissed as “anti-vax hysteria”, or worse, accused of being ignorant and uncaring.Ou

r country remains enormously vulnerable to COVID-19 and we are lucky to be offered a vaccine. But the fact that people, particularly those who are older, are hesitant (The Age, 30/4) does not have to derail the program. Perhaps we should respect and acknowledge this fear; a sense of community and support may be what many of us need to get to that clinic.

Healthy scepticism about the long-term effects of a mass vaccination program and placing our trust in big pharma without long-term data will make us feel vulnerable. Shaming us into getting vaccinated helps no one. Alternatively, respectful communication around the fear, risks and benefits of vaccination may draw more people to clinics and leave us with some of the treasures of the precious life we are trying to save: friendship, positive work relationships and family.
Justine Adams, Kingsville

Vaccinations and tests for all incoming people

Notwithstanding the moratorium on flights from India and the continued push for local vaccination, it seems incredible that arguably the single most cost-effective measure to protect Australia from importing the virus is not being discussed: the vaccination of all returning travellers and other visitors before their departure. This would be as well as COVID-testing before departure and after arrival. Will it take another community outbreak from hotel quarantine before the penny drops
Geoff McCallum, Seville

In a year of inequality, let’s cancel the Games

I am a big fan of the Olympics and how it brings countries together as equals, regardless of culture, location or GDP. Surely though, 2021 is not a year of equality. Some countries are fighting for oxygen, while others have 70per cent of their population vaccinated. Sadly, not every country has an equal chance of participation, and with currently 5000 new COVID-19 cases a day in Japan, the focus should be on finding a way to live safely, rather than host such a huge event.
Ingrid Noack, Reservoir

Difficulty navigating around a key vaccine site

On Thursday I visited the Royal Exhibition Building to receive the vaccination. As I approached from the western end, I saw a middle-aged woman stepping, gingerly, down the short, but steep, flight of steps. She was stepping sideways, supported by a crutch extending downwards from her right shoulder. The steps seemed to have no rails.

I use a walking frame. I was directed to the entrance on the northern side of the building. There were no steps. I had made an appointment, was inoculated immediately and all the staff I encountered were very helpful. Inside, at the western end, was a sign saying “exit”. I said I would not be able to manage the steps outside. Help was summoned and a door on the northern side was unlocked. There was no step. Did I miss a manageable exit at the western end?
Alan Gunther, Carlton

We need more national quarantine centres

Australia has a moral responsibility to bring its stranded citizens home from overseas, especially from India where they are in great danger. Scott Morrison has been promising to achieve this for more than six months with poor results. Now that India is in crisis he goes further, banning all flights.

Why? If our quarantine system is as good as he claims, where is the risk? But, of course, the hotel system is not built for quarantine. It was started as an emergency response and can fail with disastrous consequences. Facilities such as Howard Springs on a national scale are essential (this will not be the last major epidemic we face). But yet again we see opposition from the government.
Rodney Syme, Yandoit Hills


In support of Avalon

A site at Mickleham has been chosen for Victoria’s quarantine facility (The Age, 30/4), even though the precincts of Avalon Airport had seemed the front runner. Considering that overseas flights could land at Avalon, and passenger transfers to an adjacent facility would only take a few minutes, one wonders why this option was not top of the list. Avalon Airport has direct access to the freeway, and any medical emergencies could be evacuated to Geelong.

Many people commute from Geelong to Melbourne, so Avalon would not seem to present staffing problems. And minimal land transport from airport to quarantine in open countryside would reduce the possibility of virus transmission. Did background political considerations once again take over from common sense?
Henry Askin, Hawthorn

Why has it taken so long?

Procrastination and prevaricating, our state government is amazing. Finally, it has a worthwhile proposal for safer quarantine which should have been set up last year. Instead, “a final decision on whether the facility should be built will not be made until September”. There are many suitable idle huts they could bring in and have it up and running within a month.
Tony Jackson, Fitzroy

Danger for our athletes

Sports Minister Richard Colbeck (The Age, 27/4) appears to have difficulty with the concept of common sense. While acknowledging the the risk of Australia’s Olympians contracting COVID-19, he says there is no guarantee they will be vaccinated before attending the Games. No doubt our politicians will be basking in any reflected glory from their medal-winning achievements.
Marcia Roche, Mill Park

Please, it’s our money

Information about how much private companies are being paid to vaccinate aged care residents should not be commercial-in-confidence – “Big Lib donor among health firms rolling out vaccines” (The Age, 30/4). This is taxpayers’ money; the public has a right to know.
Sarah Russell, Mount Martha

A deep longing for war?

A week ago, Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo’s “drums of war” speech referred to “longing for peace” in a “world of perpetual tension and dread”. A few days later, the Prime Minister inspected military installations and made announcements about increasing defence spending.

The drums of war are now louder because it is Mr Morrison, Peter Dutton and Co who are banging the drums in Canberra. Mr Pezzullo will undoubtedly soon be invited to pick up a stick and join in.
What sophistry their talk of peace. When really they seem to be longing for war.
Erin O’Brien, Clifton Springs

It’s time to shut him up

Mike Pezzullo seems to think that a public servant is someone whose convenience the public exists to serve. The administrative blunders of Home Affairs are notorious. When will he be told to pull his head in? Or does he fondly imagine that he can restrain the Chinese Communist monolith, so long appeased and endorsed by his political masters, with sheer verbal force majeure? Otherwise, will he shoulder a rifle and pack to give the People’s Liberation Army what for (on a daily travel allowance, of course)?
Frank Carleton, Longwarry

Warmth, skill, kindness

What a wonderful legacy of knowledge and care towards parents and their babies provided by maternal and child health nurse Margaret Hazelton – “Wisdom of a veteran baby whisperer” (The Age, 30/4). The article highlights the importance of providing support to new parents so they can become confident in their parenting. It is a pity that the service provided to parents is not as extensive as it was when I was a new mum. In many instances, that little bit of encouragement is all that is needed.
Denise Stevens, Healesville

History of mis-planning

It should not have taken a pandemic to reveal that a glut of substandard micro-apartments will inevitably result in high vacancies – “Push for landmark plan to save CBD”
(The Age, 29/4). Successive planning ministers have recklessly approved a flood of projects comprising multiple “investment units” that diverted capital from genuine housing supply and left the CBD a less desirable place to be.
Rod Duncan, East Brunswick

Importance of breathing

I enjoyed the article about learning how to breathe better, and surfer Mick Fanning’s comments (The Age, 27/4). I bought the book by James Nestor (mentioned in the article) during lockdown because I was waking with an incredibly dry mouth. The taping recommended by the book fixed my “mouth breathing” and solved the problem of my dry mouth. I have meditated for 46 years and agree with Mick about the physical and mental health benefits of breathing and meditation practices.
Jacqueline Newby, Burwood

Curbing male violence

Thanks to Marie Segrave and Kate Fitz-gibbon (Opinion, 27/4) for arguing that police are no answer to women’s safety. The punitive approach via police and courts to male violence is the way to go once violence has occurred – but the problem usually starts well before men choose that option for resolving conflict.

Reflecting on my 15-year experience as a facilitator in a men’s behaviour change program, I observed many men who would not engage in a program which they saw as punishment imposed by a court even though they had assured the magistrate that they would participate.
On the other hand, when the community agency ran a voluntary program, it was well attended. But as the court referrals increased, the number of volunteers decreased, so now it seems there are a lot of men who wait until the law comes looking for them.

In my experience, one option is clear – let police, courts and state corrections departments deal with offenders and the voluntary community agencies work with volunteer referrals.
Robert Semmens, East Brunswick

New approach to funding

It is alarming that the performance of our students is in steady decline (The Age, 26/4).
It seems ironic when we have one of the highest enrolment rates in private schools in the world (Australia 34.4per cent, the UK 6.5per cent, the US 10per cent). As well as reviewing the curriculum, maybe we should review funding to private schools which has risen 3.3per cent per student in the past decade, compared to 1.4per cent per public school student.
Valerie Evans, Flemington

Hardly the new messiah

Geoff Francis (Letters, 29/4) might be right in saying that Jesus set the example of laying on hands, but does that imply Scott Morrison is laying claim to the same powers Christians believe Jesus possessed? And is that how he sees himself?
Alan Bright, Neerim South

Haves and have-nots

Several of your correspondents appear to have difficulty reconciling Scott Morrison’s Christian beliefs with his political actions. I refer them to Mark 4:25 – “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath”.
Helmut Simon, Thomson

Buyers beware

I purchased an iPhone 12 on eBay and paid by PayPal in what seemed to be a normal process. However, the seller and the tracking details were fictitious. All eBay could say was that the item was not covered by its money back guarantee. Meanwhile, this scammer remains on the loose.
Vivienne Fry, Beaumaris

A reward for the doctor

Given his many insightful, well-informed critiques of the parlous state of health and aged care, it is pleasing that two of The Age’s articles on Thursday afforded Stephen Duckett “hours of entertainment” (Letters, 30/4).
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


Faith is a personal issue. If it makes you a better person, why worry about it?
Ivan Gaal, Fitzroy North

ASIO’s boss has warned of terrorist attack within 12 months. It looks like he’s pushing for increased funding in the budget.
Eric Butcher, Eltham

Scott, while talking to God, ask him how you should treat the refugees.
Lou Ferrari, Richmond

I commend Frydenberg for discarding conservative ideology and embracing the challenge to achieve greater employment.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham

It seems Scott lives by the maxim ″⁣God helps those who help themselves″⁣. What about those who can’t?
Richard Wilson, Croydon

Biden wants to increase taxes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, and assist the poor. Perhaps Morrison could do the same here.
Peter Johns, Sorrento

If we gag our politicians, harmful emissions will be significantly reduced.
Bill Trestrail, St Kilda


When Merlino submits his application to Canberra for funds for a quarantine camp, would it help if he included an Atlas page reference to Victoria?
Keith Hallett, Gisborne

I rang a local clinic and was offered jabs for the next day. Another clinic said that as we weren’t patients, we should “go to St Vincent’s”.
Christina Buckridge, West Brunswick

Re vaccine hesitancy (30/4). Remember the cases of blood clots with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Traecey Bremner, Kew


It shows how poorly administered the AFL is when it allows the 17th best team to dictate to the third best team their guernsey choices.
Don Hislop, Korumburra

A fine, relaxing account of Susan Murphy’s experience of “laying on of hands” (30/4).
Anne Flanagan, Box Hill North

I’m sure Crown will recoup the $1million in an hour or so of people gambling.
Doug Shapiro, Doncaster East

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