Millions of fully vaccinated Australians are set to be released from NSW’s harsh lockdowns in October, but some vaccine sceptics have pledged to forgo their freedoms to stay jab-free – even if it means losing their jobs.
Hair and beauty worker Emily, 25, knows she could be fired for refusing to get jabbed and potentially exposing clients and co-workers to the Delta strain, but the young Melburnian won’t change her mind.
‘I would not get the vaccine if work had threatened to let me go because of this,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The fact that it may limit my freedoms is the least of my worries, and this will by no means influence my choice.’
Byron Bay woman Arcadia, 34, says she won’t get jabbed even if it means being barred from restaurants, pubs, gyms, and domestic and international travel.
‘I don’t agree with being forced into anything,’ she said.
They are among the 35 per cent of the population who are yet to get a single jab, even as states rollout plans to lift restrictions only for those who are fully vaccinated.
Emily (pictured) is 25 and lives in Melbourne. She refuses to get the Covid vaccine, even if it means she’ll lose her job
Emily said most of her friends and family have been vaccinated, but she does not believe it is safe
Emily said she was not against vaccines in general, she was concerned about Covid vaccines, and does not believe they are safe.
‘What about the people suffering with adverse effects from it?’ she asked.
‘Why isn’t this being reported? Are these people being compensated for putting their lives on the line?’ she asked.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issues fortnightly reports on the the ultra-rare blood clotting condition associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 125 people were impacted to September 2 out of the 9.5million jabs administered.
To August 29 there were 293 reports of suspected myocarditis – inflammation of the tissue around the heart which is associated with the Pfizer vaccine – out of 9.4million doses.
Health authorities from all states and territories have reported that the majority of people who die from Covid are either unvaccinated, have serious underlying health conditions, or have only had one dose.
Emily has been separated from her loved ones during each of Melbourne’s six lockdowns, and revealed that most of her family and friend have been jabbed.
‘I fully support their decision and would never judge someone based on their vaccine status, just as I would expect the same understanding in return,’ she said.
Emily said she respects her friends’ choice to get vaccinated, and asked them for the same considerations
Arcadia, who moved to the Gold Coast from northern NSW four months ago, said: ‘Our freedoms are already being restricted with masks.’
‘We have been hiding in our house not wanting to go out because of the discrimination we’ve received for not wearing them.’
The musician and web developer, who has a four-year-old step-son, believes the vaccine has an adverse affect on the female reproductive system.
‘I am mainly concerned about the drugs on trial,’ she said.
‘I want to have children one day and I don’t believe putting my health or the future of my legacy in the hands of someone else.’
According to the Australian Department of Health website, none of the Covid-19 vaccines under review by the Therapeutic Goods Administration cause sterilisation or infertility.
‘The TGA will not approve a vaccine for use in Australia unless it is safe and effective. This includes impacts on fertility,’ it said.
Arcadia (pictured) believes the Covid-19 vaccine has a negative impact on female fertility and will not get the jab
Pictured: The 34-year-old standing in front of an art installation at the Gold Coast. The installation is meant to represent views on border closures
Arcadia and her partner, who did not want to be named, said they believed the government is segregating Australians with the vaccine.
Her partner is originally from South Africa and compared the divide between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated to apartheid – a system of institutionalised racial segregation in parts of Africa until the 1990s.
‘He’s very triggered by this,’ she said.
‘He saw the HIV and AIDS epidemic sweep across South Africa in the 80s and 90s.’
Arcadia also believes in a conspiracy theory that authorities are using the vaccine for depopulation.
‘The world has reached a level of population that they cannot control,’ she said.
‘It seems like a desperate measure to get a handle on things.’
Arcadia and her partner also believe the government are segregating Australians in a bid for total control
One Sydney mum-to-be, who did not want to be identified, was furious that the vaccine has been ‘forced’ upon her.
‘Maybe if they approached the public in a better way and didn’t force us, didn’t close us down didn’t take away our privileges some of us would consider it, however I never will now because they’re dividing our country,’ the 22-year-old said.
Her partner didn’t want the jab but was forced to in order to keep his job – ‘he hates that he had to get it,’ she added.
Heavily tattooed ‘energy healer’ and yoga teacher James Ward-Collins, who attracted huge crowds of spectators when he fire-twirled Sydney’s anti-lockdown rally in July, also said his freedoms come second to his rigid anti-vaxx opinions.
‘I am 100 per cent not changing my stance,’ he said.
But some vaccine sceptics have changed their minds.
Former Covid sceptic Damian Cassaniti said his perspective on the jab completely changed when his 72-year-old mother Tina spent nine weeks in ICU with a feeding tube in a harrowing battle against Covid-19.
‘I was sceptical about Covid before but to see with my own eyes, it has changed my whole perspective,’ Mr Cassaniti said.
‘Getting vaccinated I wasn’t on board with – but once you see a loved one go through that – anything that can provide some sort of shield is good,’ he said.
Tina Cassaniti has spent nine weeks in hospital (pictured) after she caught Covid at a party
Mr Cassaniti (pictured) was a Covid sceptic until he saw his mother fight for her life with Covid in hospital
He got his second vaccination jab last Tuesday and has been urging others to do the same.
‘Don’t be blasé, real people get this virus. This is not the flu, think that multiplied by 10, 20, 30,’ he said.
‘Gasping for air, loss of taste and smell, fever and migraines, constant coughing, it’s a lot worse.’
The federal government is preparing to roll out of vaccine passports from October so international travel can resume after borders reopen.
Residents in NSW will be allowed to pubs, cafes, shops, gyms and hairdressers with a four-square-metre distancing rule by proving they are fully vaccinated using the ServiceNSW app – and the rest of the country is expected to follow suit.
The plan would allow the country to ‘say goodbye’ to lockdowns in two stages titled phase B and phase C when 70 and 80 per cent of over 16s are vaccinated.
Australia is almost halfway to the reopening threshold at 39 per cent.
What can you do after freedom day?
Only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will have access to the freedoms allowed under the Reopening NSW roadmap.
The freedoms for vaccinated adults will come into effect on the Monday after NSW hits the 70 per cent double dose target and include:
Gatherings in the home and public spaces:
· Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not including children 12 and under).
· Up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings.
Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms:
· Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
· Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail).
· Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises.
· Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
· Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.
Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities:
· Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.
· Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
· Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.
Weddings, funerals and places of worship:
· Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
· Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
· Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing.
· Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.
· Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.
· Carpooling will be permitted.
Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household.
Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.
There will be revised guidance on isolation for close and casual contacts who are fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.
· Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.
· Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.
· Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors.