Chances are you’ve heard the history: Australia got its start as a prison colony. These days, it looks like the land down under is headed that way again, and the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame.
Earlier this year in parts of the continent, severe lockdowns were still in place, and Aussies abroad relished the freedom they experienced. And much like other nations, Australia is placing its faith in COVID vaccines as a way to keep the virus under control.
One Australian state is taking that vaccine faith way too far. Queensland, in the northeastern part of Australia, is preparing to restrict the freedom of unvaccinated Australians. The health ministry announced the restrictions on Facebook earlier this week:
The restrictions apply to anyone who hasn’t had two doses of a government-approved shot. The Queensland government website goes into further detail to explain what’s considered essential activities:
These restrictions target non-essential leisure activities including attending hospitality venues (hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants and cafes) and entertainment venues (nightclubs, live music venues, stadiums, theatres, cinemas and festivals).
These activities are not essential for people to meet their basic needs, but present a considerable risk to contributing to an outbreak in our community when our borders reopen.
A good guide to understand what is considered an essential service or activity are the businesses that remained open during lockdowns, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, newsagents and clothing stores and activities such as exercise.
There is an exception for weddings – if anyone (includes wedding party, guests or officials) is unvaccinated, the wedding will be restricted to 20 people maximum.
Forget vaccine shaming. These draconian measures are meant to force the hand — or the arm — of those who don’t buy the narrative that the vaccine is a miracle cure-all for COVID.
Even after we’ve seen studies that cast doubt on the effectiveness of the vaccines, even after we’ve heard heartbreaking stories about how the vaccines can change a life for the worse — or end a life — you’d think that more reasonable heads would prevail and a measure of vaccine freedom would win the day.
Not so fast. We’ve seen it here in the U.S., and Australia seems to want to top American vax-shame outrage.
Governments across the globe have bought into two narratives: COVID-zero and vaccine-as-savior. They’ve fallen so hard for these faulty notions that nothing will sway them.
But here’s the truth: we’re always going to have COVID in some form, and the vaccine isn’t for everyone. You’ll never hear a government change its tune on either narrative anytime soon (if ever), and unfortunately, those in Queensland who believe in vaccine freedom are going to pay the price for it.