Dummies’ guide to Covid rollout Part 1

We often hear reference to modelling done in universities or research centres. This modelling is important because it is the basis of important policy decisions.

This is a Dummies Guide to help the curious understand one of the more simple methods used to build these models. The model has a simple set of images that represent the computer code that drives the model. It is a computer simulation model using System Dynamics. 

The model is of an Australian state with an adult population of 5 million people. The vaccine is a two-dose vaccine. The government is ordered 500,000 doses each month for two years and prioritised the first dose.

To start, it helps to think of a series of bathtubs filled by a series of pipes which are controlled by a series of taps. Each series of bathtubs contains stuff: in our case: people and vaccines,

The Dummies Guide model for a vaccine rollout using this system would start out looking like this. The members of the unvaccinated population receive their first jab and move on to the population with a first jab. Some remain behind in the unvaccinated population. Members of the Population was 1 Jab receive a second jab and move on to the population with two Jabs.

The Unvaccinated Population flows into the population with 1 Jab through the flow entitled First Jab. The same dynamic applies to the population with the Second jab.  

This is possible because of another associated Co-flow. There Is a supply of Vaccines. They accumulate in a warehouse or vaccination hub according to the demand generated by the first and second jabs.

The government endeavours to match the supply of vaccine with the anticipated demand. But they are also constrained by the amount that they can order from overseas. So they decided to order 500,000 doses per month.

There is now a dynamic interaction between three populations and the stock vaccine. The Unvaccinated Population generates a demand for a 1st Jab. Not all of the Unvaccinated Population will want to get vaccinated and some may wait to get vaccinated.

The unvaccinated population declines over time, while the population with two jabs increases. The population with one jab increases but at a declining rate over time. This is because people are just passing through this population on their way to the population with two jabs. The numbers are smaller over time because the unvaccinated population is declining.

After two years there is still a residual unvaccinated population.The government priority was for first jabs. This meant there was no waiting for the first jab, but it took fully two years before the second jab was delivered to the total population.

The full model generated this data is very simple. The next stage will be to model the impact of an outbreak of the virus and a lockdown.

How Australians can make sense of the vaccination supply numbers

These are some extracts from an article published in The Age: “What do the vaccine reopening targets mean and when are more doses coming?”

A careful reading can prove to be informative.

Stephen Duckett, a former federal health department secretary now at the Grattan Institute, is quick to point out that those 70 and 80 per cent vaccination targets since agreed by national cabinet leave out children, and so actually represent about 56 per cent of Australia’s total population of 25 million or so. “Children still spread the virus,” he says. “We still think you should get to 80 per cent of the entire population vaccinated before you throw out lockdowns and open borders.”

Dr Stephen Druckett BEc (ANU), MHA, DSc, PhD (UNSW), DBA (Bath), DipEd(Tert) (DDIAE), DipLegStud (La Trobe), FASSA FAHMS FAICD

Druckett Is absolutely correct to point out that is 56% of the total population.

That is problematic in terms of protection will provide.

Confusion with this arises from the definition of the adult population built into Scott Morrison’s definition of his targets for opening up the economy. It is based on the adult population being 80% of the total population. Morrison wants 80% of that population to be fully vaccinated. That’s about 14m people according to Duckett.

It is likely that by the time Australia reaches the target, no one is going to be terribly concerned about the technical details. There will just be relief to be out of lockdown. But that is probably likely to prove disastrous.

Then there are the numbers.

“And almost 8 million doses of the 40 million we’ve ordered for this year had been received. Exact supply numbers are usually only locked in four weeks in advance, when Pfizer confirms the final numbers being released that month. But General Frewen says Australia is working to bring the rest of those 32 million doses forward to more than 1 million arriving each week. According to his roll-out plan, we will have 5 million Pfizer doses to use in August, 4 million in September, 10 million in November and 6 million come December.”

But when you add up the numbers, they don’t add up.

40 – 8 = 32

32 million doses arriving at 1 million a week is eight months, which is March of 2022 for all the Pfizer doses to arrive.

But there appears to be another timetable: 5 million in August, 4 million in September, 10 million in November and 6 million in December equals 25 million. Not 32.

My modelling suggests that to reach the 80% goal nationally by Christmas Australia will need 33 million vaccine doses.

So then there is this piece of news.

“From September, the first of the 25 million Moderna doses on order will also begin arriving – 10 million is expected by December.”

Has now been approved for the same target groups as Pfizer.

What the news article doesn’t tell us is the rate at which these doses will be arriving and whether it will be fast enough to meet the 80% target by December.

Fitzroy Community School Principal Tim Berryman claims childrens’ voices are lost in the Covid debate and that he is speaking for them.

But are they

There has been no shortage of discussion and advocacy about the impact of school closures on children so he is only one voice amongst many.

As a school principal he is certainly entitled to speak for his community

Fitzroy Community School principal Tim Berryman on Monday.CREDIT:JUSTIN MCMANUS

But who gave him the mandate to infect 30 children and staff members with coronavirus?

Presumably the parents who send their kids to school and who knew what they were letting the kids in for.

What about the contacts of the Fitzroy Community School that is now a  a Tier 1 site and who were presumably not aware of what was going on?

Given the highly infectious nature of the Delta strain, this cluster is likely to have far-reaching ramifications for all of us.

But what he has done raises some very important issues for the education system in general.

The most important is the extent to which individuals are able to defy government regulation in terms of the administration of their specific organisation.

The matter is surfacing with increasing frequency. The practices of the building industry, the practices of religious groups and now the practice of this specific school. Individuals in charge of these organisations have made decisions that are in direct contravention of the regulations of the CMO.

Now it is crunch time.

Are people like Tim Berryman allowed to say “I know better than Brett Sutton.” and tell the parents of the kids at his school to send them along until (inevitably and expectedly) everybody gets infected.

Now should they be made public example that ensures that this behaviour does not occur again?

Or should the authorities simply shrug and say “Whatever.”

Because if something isn’t done to curb the Tim Berryman’s of this world, this behaviour will surface again and again with increasing frequency and rabidity.

Fitzroy Community School opens its doors to its pupils. Thirty staff and students now have Covid.

The AGE reports: “The Fitzroy Community School in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North whose principal has repeatedly flouted public health orders and invited families to send in their children during lockdowns has been hit by a significant coronavirus outbreak.

The principal, Timothy Berryman argued that the damage to their mental health from extended periods of remote learning was potentially severe, while the health risks to children from catching coronavirus were negligible”

30 students and staff had tested positive at the Fitzroy Community School in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North.CREDIT:EDDIE JIM

The principal and parents were aware that they were in breach of the Chief Medical Officer’s rules. So no one can plead ignorance. And they are all repeat offenders.

Without being prejudicial, this is a community school and alternative approaches to education and society are the attraction of the school. It is likely that a number of the parents who send their children it to such a school will have strong views on vaccination, as will the teachers.

The question arises: Were the teachers and the principal vaccinated? If not, was this a major factor in the outbreak of the virus in the school?

Once mainstream schools return on a regular basis, will schools like the Fitzroy Community School be able to continue with unvaccinated teachers in front of classes?

A larger question remains.

Is this the situation that will emerge when unvaccinated children, under the age of 12, return to the classroom?

The answer is likely to be, yes it is.

Perhaps Timothy Berryman has unwittingly done us a public service by highlighting a difficult issue.

Tony Abbott flouts CMO health regulations and is unhappy about being caught out

Tony Abbott is unhappy about being dobbed in for not wearing a mask on the beach at Manly

Does the ex-Prime Minister think he is someone special?

Oviously, yes

That he doesn’t need to follow the directions of the Chief Medical Officer?

Oviously, yes.

There should be some special conspiracy of silence that should protect him?

Oviously, yes

Unfortunately, there’s someone In his old electorate who don’t like him very much, someone who is clearly happy to report him to the authorities.

Abbott’s response was “I never thought dobbing and snitching was part of the Australian character.  I think as soon as we can leave this health police state mindset behind us, the better for everyone.”

Actually, Tony, it will be quicker if everybody observes the rules and regulations especially high-profile members of the community who can showed their support for the government’s efforts to curb the pandemic rather than flouting them.

Just how much damage does he think this irresponsible out burst has done?

No mea culpa, no apology, just defiance. His Liberal party colleagues and parliamentarians must be shaking their head in wonderment.

Have these two men double-handedly destroyed Australia’s economic, health and educational systems?

There seems to be mounting evidence that the delays, increasingly and stridently denied by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in the vaccine rollout were a result of the failure of Health Minister Greg Hunt to secure offers of vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in early 2020.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, himself one of the first recipients of the Pfizer vaccine, declared Australia was “at the front of the queue”. Apparently, it wasn’t.

The impact of these delays, which ran out into late 2020 and through 2021, are now clearly evident as a result of the catastrophic loss of public confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine and the massive shortfall in the Pfizer vaccine.

The situation was exacerbated by the arrival of the highly contagious Delta strain of the coronavirus which is now sweeping through New South Wales and Victoria.

The full effects on the economy, health and educational systems will be felt for years to come. The immediate effect on people’s lives and incomes has been catastrophic. Childrens’ education has been brought to a halt for nearly 2 years. Anyone who seriously believes that homeschooling is an adequate substitute for classroom learning has never sat next to a small child with an iPad.

And when the history books are written and the evidence is weighed, it is likely that it will all come down to these two men and their terminal ineptitude and that one fateful decision.