PROFESSOR Katie Flanagan, a Launceston infectious disease specialist, presented a very interesting public lecture last Monday night titled "COVID-19: How close are we to a vaccine?".
Professor Flanagan is of the opinion that Australia is in a very fortunate position regarding the COVID-19 contagion, compared to the UK and USA for example, where the aforementioned states are commencing an extensive program of mass vaccination, prioritising members of society who are perceived at greatest risk.
Australia has the opportunity to observe the efficacy of three different types of vaccine being distributed at present, and to learn from the aforesaid implementation.
For the vaccine to be effective in Australia, Professor Flanagan stated that 70 per cent of the population would have to be vaccinated to enable a certain "herd effect" to be enacted.
A number of unknowns still exist, including how long the vaccine will last, what are the long term effects for people who have already contracted COVID-19, does the vaccine ameliorate the effect on the body only, but can one still contract and spread the virus, are just a few examples of questions yet to be answered.
Kenneth Gregson, Swansea.
Concerns about fairness
AS REPORTED in the (The Sunday Examiner, December 13) Greg Barns SC is concerned "about an attitude which says the moment you make a complaint you're believed" in relation to recent events concerning UTAS.
I won't comment about these events directly.
However, Greg Barns also mentions fairness, and fairness is an important issue that all of society should be ready to critically examine, and defend (assuming fairness is found to be worthy of defence).
But what is fairness? Is it fairer to presume innocence until guilt is proven, or presume guilt until innocence is proven? Both have costs and benefits.
Furthermore, the broader issue of procedural fairness is relevant at more than one level in any process of justice within a society.
But, one thing is clear, the decisions of a society to endorse particular answers to questions of fairness and justice have profound consequences for the nature of that society as a whole.
Dr Graham Wood, Philosopher, UTAS, Launceston.
China v Australia
I AM bewildered by the current trade impasse that exists between China and ourselves.
Acknowledging that the embargoes on wine, beef, barley etc and now coal have been created by a diplomatic indifference surely it is time for federal politicians to stand up and take a tougher stance against this communist regime.
This can be done by simply "calling their bluff" by stating if you don't take the products embargoed then iron ore and other products will also be embargoed for export to you.
Furthermore if the Chinese charade continues we will take no further Chinese investment and all Chinese assets in Australia will be seized by the Commonwealth.
Strong words I know, but it is now time for some real intestinal fortitude to be exercised by our political leaders on this issue.
Peter Kerslake, Launceston.
IT IS common to hear the health and education systems in Tasmania consistently decried.
Successive governments have poured money into our hospitals and our schools with little perceived benefit.
Many children are completing school with insufficient skills for the work place and unfit people clog our hospitals with avoidable health issues.
Our doctors, nurses, paramedics and educators all do their best to cope with the demands of their jobs, but the problem lies with the early education of children in the home.
We spend buckets of money and effort applying Band-aid solutions to numerous issues, including poor educational attainment, truancy, mental illness, drug use, domestic violence, obesity, crime and incarceration.
Most problems that some young people have stem from their early childhood experiences in the home.
If government and community efforts went towards assisting new parents with positive ideas and advice for educating their kids during the formative years, from birth to five years old, our children would be better prepared for the future and more likely to grow up healthy and ready to learn.
We need a government not fearful to take a new direction, and willing to spend our finances where it can really make a difference. With some commitment to our future, we could be the state with the highest standards in education and health.
If you're not constantly falling over, you don't need Band-aids.
Steve Puccetti, Ambleside
CONGRATULATIONS to Scotch College students (The Examiner, December 18) with their TCE scores.Ray Martin who is promoting local newspapers and the importance of them to local communities would be impressed by his former school Launceston High ,now Launceston College with six students being part of the top 100 in the state namely.
The choice now being offered for students to now be able to do years 11 and 12 at a number of high schools is a positive outcome for those students ,to those who aspire for college life in Launceston, colleges Newstead and Launceston are places of excellence for them.
Premier Peter Gutwein along with his Education Minister would be proud of these results.
Brian P. Khan, Bridport.
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