Monday, January 17, 2022

Statistic that proves booster shots are saving Australians from Omicron

This is dubious logic. LOTS of people have not had a third shot. This could be random or indicate that the people concerned felt too ill to have a third shot

And do we know that the deaths were from Omicron? It could have been Delta

Sixteen of the 17 Covid-19 deaths recorded in NSW overnight were patients who had not received their booster shot.

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said only one person who died had a booster shot, highlighting the importance of getting a third dose.

'We know that for the Omicron variant, having that booster is critical to upping your level of protection,' she said.

'And we know that with both variants, even though the Omicron variant is milder overall, it still will have an incredible impact on people that are elderly and those underlying conditions.'

NSW and Victoria recorded a dip in Covid-19 cases while ICU and hospitalisation rates spiked in both states.


Australia’s medicines regulator has confirmed the first cases of rare heart inflammation after booster vaccines

As of January 9, there have been six reports of likely myocarditis – four after Pfizer and two after Moderna – and 12 reports of likely pericarditis – 10 after Pfizer and two after Moderna – after a third or booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) most recent safety update.

“The TGA is monitoring the safety of booster vaccine doses in adults,” the regulator said.

“It is not expected that the types of side effects will be different to first and second vaccine doses based on the results of clinical trials, and observations from regulators overseas where more booster doses have been given.”

Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, or inflammation of the lining around the heart, are serious but rare side effects associated with mRNA vaccines.

According to the TGA, myocarditis – which it describes as “very rare” – is reported in about one to two out of every 100,000 people who receive Pfizer and two to three out of 100,000 who receive Moderna.

But it is more common after the second dose in teenage boys at 12 cases per 100,000 for Pfizer and 17 per 100,000 for Moderna, and young men under 30 at six per 100,000 for Pfizer and 12 per 100,000 for Moderna.

“To January 9, 2022, we have received approximately 950 reports of suspected adverse events identified after a third or booster dose,” the TGA said.

“This includes a small number of cases of myocarditis and pericarditis. The most common adverse events reported to the TGA following a booster dose are swollen lymph nodes (also called lymphadenopathy), headache, fatigue, muscle pain and fever. Swollen lymph nodes are a normal and known side effect of vaccines and occurs when the immune system is stimulated and were seen in the clinical trials.”

The TGA says it has also received about 3000 reports of adverse reactions after vaccination in children and adolescents.

The most commonly reported reactions in 12 to 17-year-olds are chest pain, headache, dizziness, nausea and fever.

“Reports of more serious effects following vaccination in children in the US were extremely rare with 100 reports from 8.7 million vaccine doses – the most common were fever, vomiting and in some cases seizures,” it said.

“Importantly, myocarditis was also very rare in this age group, with 11 confirmed reports from over eight million doses – these were all mild cases. The TGA is closely monitoring adverse event reports in this age group and will communicate any safety issues if they arise.”

As of January 9, from 28.4 million doses of Pfizer and 2.1 million doses of Moderna, there have been 467 cases of likely myocarditis – 423 from Pfizer and 44 from Moderna – and a further 1048 cases classed as “suspected” myocarditis – 952 from Pfizer and 96 from Moderna.

Suspected cases include those reporting both myocarditis and pericarditis. There have been an additional 2183 cases of suspected pericarditis alone – 2015 from Pfizer and 168 from Moderna.

The TGA stresses that myocarditis is “often mild, and cases usually resolve after a few days with treatment and rest”, but about half of cases are admitted to hospital.

“Five people with confirmed myocarditis were treated in intensive care,” the TGA says.

“This represents about 1 per cent of all confirmed myocarditis cases. Most patients admitted to hospital were discharged within four days.”

According to Health Department figures from Sunday, 92.5 per cent of over-16s in Australia are now fully vaccinated, and nearly five million people over the age of 18 have received more than two doses


Attorney general defends religious schools’ right to sack teachers for views on sexuality

Michaelia Cash’s department has defended religious schools’ right to sack teachers for their views on sexuality and appeared to confirm safeguards for gay students will be delayed until after the religious discrimination bill.

The attorney general’s department’s submission to two inquiries states that changes to the Sex Discrimination Act will wait for a further review 12 months after the bill passes, despite a purported deal with four Liberal MPs to prevent expulsion of gay students at the same time, in exchange for their support of the religious discrimination bill.

Cash also personally walked back her reported commitment in December after a backlash from religious groups including the Australian Christian Lobby and Christian Schools Australia which threatened to scupper their support for the bill over the deal.

Liberal MPs Katie Allen, Dave Sharma, Angie Bell and Fiona Martin claimed they had won Cash’s agreement to remove section 38(3) from the Sex Discrimination Act, which allows schools to discriminate on sexuality and gender grounds.

The department’s submission reiterates that “the religious discrimination bill does not affect the operation of the Sex Discrimination Act”.

“In particular, the existing exemptions for religious educational institutions provided in section 38 of that Act are not affected.”

The department said religious exemptions will be considered by the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry, to report back 12 months after the bill passes.

The department noted although the bill does not affect schools ability to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation it “would allow a religious school to consider a person’s religious beliefs about issues such as sexuality” where it is part of the beliefs of the school.


Supply really is the key to housing: migration and negative gearing are secondary

Any country with as much land as we have and wages as high as ours, should have the most affordable housing in the world, not the least. For years governments, through inaction or special interest lobbying, have denied young Australians their chance at the Australian dream.

The longer the Tax and Revenue Committee investigated housing affordability, the more apparent it became that the usual scapegoats are convenient distractions from the real reasons for this intergenerational theft.

The planners and academics blamed migrants for high house prices. But in the last two years, prices climbed by over 20 per cent while our immigration intake was zero. Next scapegoat was investors. Since 2019 property investors fell to dangerously low levels. Supply of rental properties did not keep pace with demand. Now rent increases are making it more difficult for people buying their own home to save for a deposit.

Rental vacancies across our major cities are at their lowest levels in decades.

When these same special interest groups blame tax and social housing supply, but not private sector housing supply of course, you have to wonder whether they have much credibility.

None of this would matter if it did not drive so much of what our country feels like. Australia’s founders wanted a classless society. They wanted a place better than from where many of them came. The dividing line between the upper class and everyone else was property.

Our founders sought to obliterate that division by ensuring everyone had the chance to own a home. This is known as the Australian dream.

As Reserve Bank assistant governor Luci Ellis said, Australia is on the verge of dividing into two classes. Your future will be determined by whether your parents owned their home.

Widespread home ownership has far-reaching impacts. Firstly, it reduces wealth inequality. Analysis of Thomas Piketty’s data shows that a significant factor in wealth is whether you own your home. Treasury’s analysis of retirement incomes found that a large superannuation balance matters for little if you do not own the home in which you live.

When Tokyo liberalised planning laws, homelessness fell by over 80 per cent. This evidence runs counter to the popular narrative that only public housing reduces homelessness. Why is it that you can count on a butcher’s left hand the number of homeless advocates who have dared suggest that planning is a critical plank in reducing homelessness?

Finally, home ownership creates stable democratic institutions. Why are we undoing home ownership as a feature of Australian society?

The committee heard evidence from a range of experts.

There was the usual special interest pleading, some difficult to understand theories, and then some truly bewildering data which pointed to one inconvenient truth: our affordability challenge comes down to not building enough homes.

This is economics 101 – Marshall’s supply and demand curves. The Centre for Independent Studies, Grattan Institute and CoreLogic all demonstrated that Australia has been under-building for years. The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation provided evidence that builders face untenable risks caused by hidden council and state charges. NHFIC provided $24bn in concessional loans for social housing, but as Shelter Australia pointed out, the supply of social housing has not significantly changed in two decades.

Builders accused of land banking told stories of needing six permits to connect a pipe, waiting six months to get approval for wood in a staircase, or being told by one department to remove trees while being told by another to plant more.

Indigenous groups complained that charges in the Pilbara are higher than the price of a home. Houses do not get built, people go homeless, and homes are overcrowded.

Housing Industry Australia showed that 50 per cent of the cost of a home and land package is state and local government ­charges.

The NSW Treasury noted that to just keep pace with demand, NSW needed to build 42,000 houses a year. Housing targets are short of this. Even then only one out of 35 Sydney councils are meeting these abysmal targets. Just one.

In the US, people have been leaving highly regulated planning districts like San Francisco (city with the worst homelessness), for more liberal Texas. These include Tesla, Facebook and Amazon. Liberal planning systems bring entrepreneurs and jobs that are better quality with higher pay.

The econometric modelling is unambiguous: planning laws are contributing about half of what Australians pay for their homes. Negative gearing is adding, maybe, 4 per cent. The focus of the debate is inverse to the cause.

There could be many reasons for this, but highest on my list is that the very people constraining supply are the ones benefiting from it. The higher home prices are, the higher taxes are.

Shifting the blame to other governments, migrants, investors and builders is just part of their game, while the rest of us suffer the consequences of our nation being unmade before our very eyes.




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