The Informer: 'Pre-COVID normality' - remember that?

Preparing for a COVID vaccination? Mind the packed waiting room. Photo: file
Preparing for a COVID vaccination? Mind the packed waiting room. Photo: file

Who would have thunk it ... boos at the Australian Open men's tennis final?

Nope, not for being short-changed after Novak Djokovic cast aside his opposition with a regulation swash of his racquet, but rather that someone (well, numerous vocal people as it happens) had the audacity to mix sport with politics.

Say what? Earlier this year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was adamant politics and sport should not be intertwined. But there we were broadcasting quite possibly the only tennis Grand Slam of the year played in front of a crowd to the world and people booed. Twice! Once when the word vaccine was used and then even more vehemently when the state government was thanked.

Thankfully deputy PM Michael McCormack was on hand today to run the outrage flag up the pole.

"Well, that's not Australian. I'm sorry, that is just un-Australian," Mr McCormack said. "This vaccine is going to get our country back to some sort of pre-COVID normality."

And if having a phalanx of photographers and camera operators and journalists in your medical clinic is "pre-COVID normality" then we're pretty much there.

The nation's biggest vaccination drive started ahead of schedule with the PM yesterday and included a few unscripted moments. But hey, it was a Sunday (always tagged as a slows news day) after all. So when 84-year-old Jane Malysiak confused her hand gestures as she sat alongside Mr Morrison, it was all a bit of a giggle.

The serious stuff - and the serious optics - clicked into gear today. There were live crosses to vaccinations on morning TV (apparently) plus recording equipment thrust in the faces of those whose arms were first in line all across the country.

Rhonda Stuart, an infectious disease expert who treated Australia's first coronavirus patient, was the first Victorian to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Annabel Thomas, a nurse who has worked in Adelaide's quarantine hotels and who also spent time in Victoria during Melbourne's second-wave of infections last year, headed the queue in South Australia.

Antonio Garza and Keita Winks, hotel quarantine nurses, were the first jabbed in Western Australia, while Gold Coast nurse Zoe Park received Queensland's first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

We wish them well, of course. But a word to the wise, remember their names, dear reader. I feel confident they will feature in end-of-year news quizzes.

Meanwhile, outside the COVID bubble, a third and now fourth claim of sexual assault has been levelled at a former Liberal Party staffer; and the Victorian government has called a Royal Commission into Crown Resorts' Melbourne casino operations.

Seems there are some things you can bet on - and it's not just booing at sports events.

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