MANY community sports clubs, including those in the Wimmera, would never have imagined vaccination status would be an issue they'd be grappling in their lifetime.
But here we are. It seems after the past 18 months of COVID-19 lockdowns and unprecedented events, nothing really surprises Victorians. The Victorian government is yet to confirm whether people will need to be double-vaccinated to play community sport.
Whether a mandate is introduced for community sport is anybody's guess.
Vaccination status, like medical history and political views, used to belong to a category of conversation almost too taboo to bring up with those outside an immediate social bubble.
We knew those known as 'anti-vaxxers' existed but they were considered a very outer part of society. In the Wimmera, those against vaccination still are if COVID-19 figures are correct.
As of Monday, more than 95 per cent of people in the Horsham and Hindmarsh local government areas had received at least one inoculation. 94.4% of the people of the West Wimmera had received at least one dose.
That's exciting, fantastic and drives hope. The cold hard reality is though, that when community sport is able to resume in early November, vaccines will determine who can and can't play.
The figures demonstrate the vast majority of people in our city have taken steps to protect themselves from the virus and that means many sportspeople will be able to pick up where they left off.
But is it really fair to force people to get the jab to play sport? Melbourne defender Tom McDonald - who is vaccinated - argued this past week he didn't think it was.
He thought those working in high-risk industries such as hospitality and healthcare should face mandated vaccinations but those in sport should not.
McDonald said he'd have no issue playing against unvaccinated athletes as getting the jab was solely to protect the individual.
The same argument could be made for community sport. Is it imperative that all playing are double-dosed with either Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna? Well, yes.
As former Phoenix Suns star Charles Barkley said this past month, you get vaccinated to protect those around you. The reality is, many 20 or 30-something athletes won't die from COVID-19. But what about the 60 and 70-something umpires they're coming in close contact with? They mightn't be so lucky.
What about the 40-year volunteer who collects money on the gate or works behind the bar? They mightn't be so lucky.
It's all about risk. Nothing is a certainty in medicine but we can take steps to mitigate dangers. COVID-19 is just a lotto, particularly the delta variant. It's really not possible to judge how it will affect you and vaccination is like an odds boost. It significantly reduces the chance of serious illness. The science is irrefutable.
The samples included people who were fully or partially vaccinated with either the Pfizer or the AstraZeneca vaccines, as well as people who were unvaccinated.
The researchers then looked at how the vaccines affected the spread of the virus if a person had a breakthrough infection with either the alpha variant or the highly contagious delta variant.
Both vaccines reduced transmission. When infected with the delta variant, a contact was 65 percent less likely to test positive if the person from whom the exposure occurred was fully vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
With AstraZeneca, a given contact was 36 percent less likely to test positive if the person from whom the exposure occurred was fully vaccinated.
The brilliance of community sport is how it caters for people of all ages and gives them a role to play. Getting jabbed is as much for those older people who are in a lot of cases the heart and soul of the club as it is for anything.
None of those vaccines will offer foolproof protection against contracting the virus. They will, however, lower the chances and almost certainly prevent death or serious illness.
Let's keep rolling up our sleeves and giving ourselves the best chance at living a life not dictated by a virus.
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