‘If I’d known, I would have got it’: on the frontline of Australia’s ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’

An unvaccinated patient is lying on a hospital bed. Sick, dying of Covid, realizes in hindsight he should have gotten a jab.

Another, sick and panicked, asks if they can get vaccinated now. It’s too late, the doctor should tell them.

Another person, gasping for air, could not even find a breath to ask.

This is what Australian doctors and nurses are dealing with, on the front line of the “unvaccinated pandemic”. People realize the seriousness of their mistake, the consequences of believing misinformation that has been spread about vaccines, and the existence of the Covid virus itself.

Others are too far from a rabbit’s burrow to have that damask shift. A nurse in Sydney tells Guardian Australia about a man who didn’t believe Covid was real even as he lay in a hospital bed.

“This guy kept trying to escape, he wasn’t on a respirator yet, he was like, ‘Covid’s not real’. I don’t know why I’m here,” the nurse says.

“He would go out and go five meters and sit on the floor. And we would give him oxygen and say, ‘Maybe you don’t believe in him, man, but you’re not feeling well,’ and while he was feeling defeated, we’d put him back in bed.

“Then we give him medicine so he feels better and start the circus all over again.”

Then there are the family members who put pressure on doctors to prescribe bogus medicines that they have heard about on the Internet. The nurse says that while patients are in the ICU, families may be “trying to go toe-to-toe” over the phone with the recorder, prompting some unproven treatments.

Australia has always had its share of anti-vaccination campaigners who spread misinformation. Much of the movement goes back to Andrew Wakefield, who Incorrectly linking childhood vaccinations to autism. He has completely lost his credibility, but he continues to actively promote disinformation.

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Now, those who believe in a wide variety of conspiracy theories have found new audiences online, merging into a strange mix with bits of… wellness industry. They have been fueled by celebrities and politicians.

Former US President Donald Trump repeated false claim About his link to autism, even though he has had a Covid vaccine. He then became famous for undermining science by publishing unproven cures (Including bleachingivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, neither of which works).

False treatments giving false hope, rejection of public health measures on the basis of “freedom,” and incorrect information have all driven people away from proven health advice that vaccination is safe, works and saves lives.

Disinformation has spread in Australia, amplified by politicians including the Liberal MP Gerard RenickAnd National Liberal Party MP George Christensen And United Australia MP Craig Kelly.

It is the country’s health system that bears the consequences.

Doctors should tell them it’s too late

A nurse at a regional hospital in New South Wales said it was frustrating and upsetting to see unvaccinated patients.

“We are very upset that people chose not to vaccinate because of misinformation and we are on the front lines, and we have to breastfeed them. Wearing PPE, it’s not fun, it’s not convenient…it’s a drain on resources,” she says.

The Australian Medical Association’s vice president, Dr Chris Moy, says health workers are specialists, and will naturally show empathy for any patient.

That doesn’t stop the frustration, as an exhausted workforce deals with the extra burden of people who deny science.

“People say ‘Please give me the vaccine,’ and doctors have to tell them it’s too late,” Moy says.

“There is certainly no ‘I told you so,’ and they would be sympathetic to that person, but nonetheless they would like these individuals to be able to talk to themselves in the past. To go beyond thinking, whatever led to the decision not to vaccinate.”

“On a personal level, this is frustrating, you are trying very hard to give appropriate scientific information to people so that they can make a decision to vaccinate, not only for themselves but to protect others. At the same time we are under attack.”

Nearly 90% of Australians over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, and the frequency is dropping. The University of Melbourne Report, through its Melbourne Institute, only 6.4% of Australians They are now “vaccine hesitant”.

But in that group, there is a very combative rump. Thousands of people attended The so-called “freedom” assemblies, protesting suitcase grab for Covid issues. Politicians, scientists and health workers around the world They were threatened for their work on vaccinations.

And while some hate the phrase “unvaccinated pandemic” because vaccinated people can still get sick, Latest NSW stats They appear to be a minority of cases. About 85% of deaths, and 94% of intensive care admissions are those who have not been fully vaccinated. The vast majority of cases are in those who have never received any vaccinations.

Tim Leung, director of service in the intensive care unit at Monash Health, says he has looked at the numbers at major Melbourne hospitals.

It is a highly vulnerable pandemic. We can get data on who in the ICU with Covid has been vaccinated twice, which is one patient.

“All the rest have not been vaccinated. That in itself tells the story.”

The director of the intensive care unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Chris McKissack, echoes Leung. He says that 95% of their patients have not been fully vaccinated and there are cases where patients and their loved ones have been misled.

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“It takes a long period of time and discussion to help them understand,” he says.

By the time patients get to the ICU, Leung says, they are gasping for breath: “They’re often confused, and they get over it[asking for the vaccine].

“There was a patient occasionally who said, ‘If I knew, I would understand.’ Mostly I’ve seen people say, ‘I’m really scared, I’m really suffering, why can’t I breathe, I feel like I’m dying.’ That’s what they think. It’s further So “.

Leung adds that not all unvaccinated people are antivaccinated, and some have never met.

‘They can’t do much’

Dr Karen Price, chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, says doctors in hospitals are exhausted, exhausted and exhausted, but they search deeply and find empathy, even when people are playing ‘Russian roulette’ with Covid.

“They put them on their stomachs so they can breathe, they order a shot, and the doctors say it’s too late. At this point, there’s not much they can do,” Price says.

She says GPs are putting in the hard squares in an effort to educate and inform their patients. To build trust and give people the right information.

It’s appropriate for people to ask questions about healthcare, Price says, and GPs must deal with the challenges that come with high-risk patients, language barriers, or low health education.

“But that’s what we do every day,” she says.

Meanwhile, the new front in the vaccination wars and the rhetoric of “freedom” revolves around the Mandate. Anti-mandatory warriors aren’t explicitly anti-vaccination—in fact, some say they support vaccination but don’t think it should be mandatory—but they appeal to those who do.

In November, five government senators crossed the earth To vote with One Nation on an anti-vaccination mandate bill. Join Renick Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Matt Canavan and Sam McMahon in an effort to stop discrimination based on Covid vaccination status.

Also with them was liberal Senator Alex Antik. Antik refuses to confirm or deny whether he has been vaccinated. Upon returning to Adelaide from Canberra on Thursday, he was Go to hotel quarantine for two weeks. Vaccinated arrivals from low-risk areas including Canberra do not have to quarantine.

Discovery A new variant, OmicronThe situation further complicated.

But, despite some unknowns about Omicron, health authorities say the best thing you can do to protect yourself and others is get vaccinated.

A regional NSW nurse says she is being chased by one unvaccinated patient.

“All I can think of is that young man, before we brought him up, we asked him: ‘Do you want to call your son, may this be the last time you can talk to him? He didn’t have the energy. “He could only speak basic words,” she says.

“He’s been sent to Melbourne, he’s gone to ECMO [the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, to oxygenate the blood]. You must be very lucky to graduate from ECMO.

“I would tell people to just get vaccinated,” she says.

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