Letters to
the editor

Missed chance of Moderna vaccine

The Saturday Paper is right to demand some transparency in the government’s choice of Covid-19 vaccines. Canada, Britain, Japan, the United States and the European Union have secured substantial quantities of the gold-standard Moderna mRNA vaccine – Australia will receive none. Prior to Rick Morton’s journalism (“Did Australia put its money on the wrong vaccines?”, January 23-29), any questioning of the government’s vaccine choice has met with angry denunciations by government scientists. Like the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is about 95 per cent effective but, unlike the Pfizer product, does not require exotic storage conditions. Instead, Australia ordered a modest quantity of the Pfizer vaccine with primary reliance on a significantly less effective, more traditional, low-tech product sourced from AstraZeneca and CSL. Now, the government has feebly responded that it is unable to strike a deal with Moderna. That’s probably correct, as Moderna’s forward production has been willingly purchased by other nations. Moderna’s technology has been highly transparent from the outset as it was the recipient of billions of dollars from the US government. The stubborn failure of the Australian government to pursue the cutting-edge Moderna technology is inexcusable and the story that Mr Morton opened should be pursued until the decision-makers are held accountable.

– Harry Melkonian, Vaucluse, NSW

Powerful forces still in play

While it’s hard not to enjoy the schadenfreude of Trump’s unwilling departure, the world is left with the same constituency whose resentments installed him in the White House (Mike Seccombe, “The Biden era begins, but the shadow of Trump remains”, January 23-29).
His successor is left with a 74 million-plus minority who preferred to support a coarse plutocrat who made little pretence of understanding or supporting anything beyond his own vengeful appetite for power. The ownership of the post-Trump world is still increasingly falling into the hands of other, much larger, plutocrats little more enlightened or altruistic than the Trump family itself. While Australia congratulates itself on its luck and handling of Covid-19, there are growing symptoms of a Mammon virus loose in Australia as its PM defiantly announces the country’s long-term engagement to the coal industry, the day after Biden’s inauguration.

– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas

Sanders and economic inequality

Mike Seccombe’s article was insightful. I’ve been an avid amateur US political pundit since Bernie Sanders’ 2016 primary run for presidency. Though I share Mike’s thoughts on Biden being much more decent than Trump, I’d like to point out that Bernie was the most popular candidate in the last primary. But some backroom deals were made with the other candidates for him to drop out early, thereby promoting their voters to vote for Biden. It was the second time that the Democratic machine nobbled any hopes of medicare for all, a Green New Deal, tax reform to close the gap between rich and poor, and stopping the never-ending foreign wars. During the primary run, Biden was asked directly about the chances of medicare for all becoming law. He said in so many words, no chance. This is unconscionable in any civilised society. The left has its work cut out.

– Kyriacos Kyriacou, Surrey Downs, SA

Roadside distraction

It looks like the fine print on the side mirror is missing from Jon Kudelka’s reflection of a failed presidency (Kudelka, January 23-29), namely: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

Freedom, at what cost?

If only Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had realised eight years ago that it would be cheaper to release the medevac asylum seekers into the community (The Week, January 23-29). It would have saved the torture and trauma that refugees have endured. We never expected compassion from Mr Dutton, nor has he expressed any responsibility for wrongdoing, just now saying it would be cheaper after millions of dollars have been wasted on keeping these people in detention while their health, both physical and mental, has deteriorated. Why now, Mr Dutton, and not years ago?

– Susan Munday, Bentleigh East, Vic

Court out on award

The discussion about Margaret Court receiving an Australia Day award is complex. Yes, she was a great tennis player a long time ago but her views should rule her out as the awards should represent all Australians and she doesn’t. Awards have been given to people that are no longer seen in such a glowing light. Those awarded the Time man of the year, later person of the year, include Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939, 1942), Richard Nixon (1971, 1972), Rudy Giuliani (2001) and Trump (2016). Awards should not go to people who can play a sport well or do a job well, as they are paid for their efforts. They should go to volunteers who do a lot of work for no pay.

– Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on January 30, 2021.

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