Christian Schools in COVID Times | Part 3: Dr Daniel Pampuch

4 August 2021

Navigating a Way Out of COVID

Vaccines have been purported as providing a way out of COVID. We wrote to the Federal health Minister earlier in the year seeking to have school staff designated as a priority group.
CSA is looking to a range of international approaches and models to see the effectiveness of a range of strategies. Currently the hope is that if Australia can reach a high level of vaccinations (between 75%-80%) so that “herd immunity” will occur. Australia will then move from trying to minimise or eradicate COVID to living with COVID.


CASE STUDY: United Kingdom

Two interesting case-studies to keep an eye on are those of the United Kingdom and Israel. On the 19th of July the UK opened up in what the press termed “Freedom Day”, having experienced 128, 985 deaths from COVID-19 (1900 deaths per million compared to Australia’s 35.8 and New Zealand’s 5.39). Out of a population of 84.1 million, 56 percent of UK residents are now fully vaccinated. However, The Office for National Statistics (ONS) believe 9 out of 10 people now have coronavirus anti-bodies – which is evidence of past COVID infection or having received at least one does of a vaccine.

However, this figure does not reveal how many people are protected from infection or how close the UK is to reaching herd immunity – the point at which everyone is protected, directly or indirectly as a result of high immunity levels in the population. Public Health England has estimated that more than 30, 000 deaths have been averted in England up to 25 June 2021 as a direct result of people being vaccinated.

The difficulty is that much of the modelling has been based on the Wuhan variant and not the Delta variant. To this end, the Australian government has stopped the Doherty Institute releasing any modelling for Australia until a better understanding of the impact of Delta, which is twice as infectious, has upon vaccination programs.


CSA is looking to a range of international approaches and models to see the effectiveness of a range of strategies." 

CASE STUDY: Israel

Israel which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world (60%) is reintroducing containment measures and contemplating going back into lockdown.  42% of infections are now with people who are vaccinated though there has been a reduction of 90-95% of severe cases. A recent outbreak in July was generated by school-based infections. The greatest concern is the long-term effectiveness of the vaccines against COVID with the elderly most at risk. In Israel, children as young as 12 are being encouraged to receive vaccinations. Even with high vaccination rates Israel has re-imposed the rule to wear masks in indoor public venues and has delayed a plan to let vaccinated tourists in.

Such global case studies are helpful in understanding the impact of vaccinations and moderating our expectations. For leaders in schools, it is helpful to note the way schools may need to conduct themselves once high levels of vaccinations are reached. Expectation management is central with the need to realise their will be no silver bullet in dealing with COVID. Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist from the World Health Organisation said, “I would say in a four to five-year timeframe, we could be looking at controlling this”.


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