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Is The End In Sight? by Laura O’Reilly

Aug 10, 2021

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to get my second shot of Pfizer at the Sonic clinic at Macquarie, and just like that I was fully vaccinated.

As I sat in the recovery area, I reflected on what a tribute to human ingenuity and community the whole vaccine experience represents. The rapid development of such an effective vaccination last year, and the medical innovation the mRNA technology represents, is mind-boggling (if you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend listening to this The Daily podcast from the New York Times, about the pioneering doctor Katalin Kariko who overcame having her work dismissed and ignored for years to bring the technology to life. What an entrepreneur, scientist and all-round resilient legend!). But more than that, I sat in that clinic just blown away by the level of coordination and logistics involved in getting the vaccine into each arm – from the international manufacture and distribution effort, to setting up hubs across the country, to organising the technology and the medical and operational staff and all the logistics that sit behind running a centre like that – its really amazing. And a tribute to what a society can do when we pull together in pursuit of the common good.

It is in this spirit, of pulling together in pursuit of the common good, that I hope our Fighting Chance community can also move forward towards a more normal and stable future.

As many of you know, the strategy we are currently pursuing at Fighting Chance is to encourage our community to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. The thinking behind the strategy is that, if we can achieve a vaccination rate amongst both staff and participants of 80%, then we are in the range that the scientists say equates to “herd immunity”, and therefore we will be in a position to allow the community to safely resume something-like normal supports. For me getting to this point is so important on many fronts – it means that participants can resume their critical services and interactions with friends and peers, that the families of our participants can resume the supports for their person I know so many rely on, and it means that we can get our workforce back into work and stabilise the ongoing viability of the organisation. And for all of us it means we can get back to being together, something that is so important to everyone’s mental health.

If we are going to get to an 80% vaccination rate then we need everyone in our community who can get vaccinated, to do so. We are offering a range of help and support to make this happen for both staff and participants, and I hope you will reach out if you need assistance

We will get through this and back to our pre-pandemic lives if we work together and rely on the science, as the global community has done so impressively over the last 18 months. If we show up for each other and get the vaccine, then the end is in sight.