The Vaccine Policy Lottery

I like to play the lottery whenever there is a big draw. I know that the odds are microscopically small (over eight million to one in the case of Tattslotto and even less for the other two major lotteries), but it is unlikely that there will be any other channel through which I will acquire wealth far above my station as a member of the lower lower middle class.

Vaccines are another form of lottery. The odds of suffering a very serious side effect from a vaccine are very small, but still much greater than that of winning the lottery.

I am lucky in that regard. The only side effect I have had from my three Covid vaccinations is a sore arm. I do strongly encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid, as, when you look at the numbers, the odds of illness from vaccination are much lower than the odds of illness (or death from Covid).

But that is not to say that one size fits all is an appropriate position. Over a decade ago, a friend of mine was pressured by her employer to get the flu vaccination. The result for her was lasting and serious neurological illness due to her reaction to the vaccine. I am aware she has some work insurance claim, but that is theoretical and basically worthless. No lump sum and definitely no payment/reimbursement for physical treatment, which is standard and required for her injury.

Which is a way of opening a discussion on vaccine policy and what to do about the people who might suffer from an adverse vaccination event.

The Coalition, who are not regarded as champions of the workers, have actually taken steps to create a compensation scheme targeting vaccine hesitancy, which directs taxpayer money at those which might actually suffer adverse impacts from the Covid vaccination. Of course, this does not help my friend, however it does help people who have a covid  vaccine now.

The position of the Opposition, and the union movement in general, has been much less nuanced and responsible. The ALP has offered a suggestion of $300 per person who gets vaccinated – a blanket spend of taxpayer money which will go to all those who get vaccinated, whether or not they are going to suffer an adverse impact. This position pretends that adverse vaccination events do not occur, or that if they do, they are so rare (or irrelevant) as to not warrant a policy response.

This is despite the union movement (and by extension the Labor Party) knowing full well that serious adverse impacts to vaccination do occur, and have done so in the past. This is because, in its role of advocating for workplace safety, the union movement hears from union members seeking assistance when they suffer adverse health impacts from a vaccination.

In doing this, turning a blind eye to the suffering of this small cohort of industrial injuries (ie workers who have had a vaccination due to work requirements and then been permanently harmed by their bodies’ reaction), the union movement has failed in its duty of care to those people. It has abandoned workers and left them to suffer alone.

Does this surprise me? The union movement, and its parliamentary representatives, is increasingly removed from the ‘shop floor’ of the workplace. The days of decent men rising from the shop floor to the leadership of unions is gone. It is more likely that people like the infamous Kathy Jackson will move into full time employment in a union office, after an elite private school education followed by a few years at university, with no time working in the occupations represented by their union.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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