Monday, 22 February 2021
Statements by Members
Well, imagine telling anyone in December 2019 that they would be spending the following 12 months in their pyjamas working from home. Imagine telling anyone in December 2019 that terms like isolation, social distancing and toilet paper wars would dominate our social media feeds, or that we would end 2020 wearing surgical masks in public. The year 2020 was truly one no-one expected, one that we will never forget—as much as we would like to—and, certainly, one that we hope will never be repeated.
It's therefore hard to express the happiness I felt watching 84-year-old World War II survivor Jane Malysiak receive the first COVID-19 vaccine in Australia. Today is a truly historic day, as the first round of COVID vaccinations commence for at-risk and priority groups in society, followed over the next seven months by the rest of the Australian population. I encourage all Australians to participate not only for your own health but for the sake of those you love, your friends and those in your community. The vaccine is safe, effective and free. It has been rigorously tested by our own regulators, and we have seen how well it has been working in other parts of the world, particularly in nations like Israel and the United Kingdom. We know it will save lives and will be the most important step in returning our own country to some sense of normalcy. The COVID vaccination program will be one of the largest public health campaigns in our nation's history. Let's repeat our success over the last 12 months in keeping the coronavirus at bay and participate in the vaccination program. (Time expired)