Third jab mandates yet another obstacle for events and tourism sectors

A push to introduce a new definition of full vaccination against Covid-19 to three shots could have flow on effects for the events and tourism sectors which are still hamstrung by the ever changing travel restrictions and health regulations.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is leading the charge for a third booster shot to be mandatory for those that want to be classified as fully vaccinated.

The Federal Government is looking at advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation before taking its position to the national cabinet.

Some states have already laid their cards on the table, with Victoria already mandating a third jab for all essential workers and South Australia mandating a third booster for health workers.

Both Andrews and his counterpart in SA, Steven Marshall, have said they expect to see the mandate across the entire public.

However, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has stepped back from his initial enthusiasm for a mandatory third jab saying the government would no longer push ahead with the mandate for health workers in the state.

“We’ve decided to take essentially a more encouraging and nurturing approach to getting them all [boosted], rather than forcing the issue and jumping in with mandates,” he told The Guardian.

“They are all double vaccinated and chances are they will proceed to get a booster regardless. They’re health workers and the vast majority would understand the need to get the booster.

“That’s the current position NSW is taking. We would like to work with our health workers.”

Just over 43 per cent of eligible NSW residents have received their third jab, a figure that drops to less than one in three for the under 40 group. Nationally, the booster rate is just above one in two.

The question is what percentage of the general population are willing to go along with constant boosters?

With each level of regulation the chances are you will lose more segments of the population, creating further obstacles for the events and tourism sectors that are constantly battling health orders that directly impede the central focus of their business model.

Israel offers some context on what the future may hold for the effectiveness of vaccine boosters. It’s now on its fourth.

A recent Israeli study found even a fourth jab was still “not good enough” to prevent Omicron infection.

The study by Sheba Hospital on a group of 270 medical workers who were given a fourth booster showed the fourth jab did not produce enough antibodies to prevent Omicron.

“The vaccine, which was very effective against the previous strains, is less effective against the Omicron strain,” Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, a lead researcher in the experiment, told The Times of Israel.

“We see an increase in antibodies, higher than after the third dose.

“However, we see many infected with Omicron who received the fourth dose. Granted, a bit less than in the control group, but still a lot of infections.

“The bottom line is that the vaccine is excellent against the Alpha and Delta [variants], for Omicron it’s not good enough.”

Professor Cyrille Cohen, head of Immunology at Bar Ilan University and a member of the advisory committee for vaccines for the Israeli Government, may have summed it up best in a recent interview on YouTube.

“When you mix epidemiology with politics you get politics.”

And two years of Covid politics have put the events and tourism sectors on life support.