80% fully vaccinated. We (finally) did it!

We did it! 80% of Australians aged 16+ are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, putting Australia into the “Consolidation” phase of the national transition plan, meaning only highly targeted lockdowns will be necessary, and travel restrictions will loosen significantly. The 12+ cohort isn’t far behind at 78.5%, and the whole population is at 66.7%.

I’ll be honest, at the beginning of the year I doubted we could get this far, but we’re now headed to be amongst the highest vaccinated countries on earth.

I never made a blog post about the vaccine clock I made to track the rollout (not that I have much of an exclusive audience here), but despite only promoting it through my Twitter, friends, and family, it’s ended up with a few thousand views per day and even landed me an interview with Nine News Sydney.

To be able to impact positively on so many people is quite rewarding, but it really just started one night in August when I was daydreaming in the shower and realised that the number of vaccines we were administering per day was greater than the number of seconds in a day. I thought it would be cool to visualise that, so I traded in some lockdown boredom to cobble together a proof-of-concept.

I realised how cheering it was to be able to see every small step we were making towards the end of lockdowns(and me finally getting a haircut!) and thought it would be cool to share that feeling. So I tidied up the code and published the site. The rest is history. And a decent helping of effort 😂

So where to from here? Well now that we’ve met the 80%-of-16+ national target, I’ll change the clock to default to showing the 12+ age group(which is actually quite similar to the 16+ group). As vaccines are approved for younger ages, I’ll default to showing those groups too, though I’ll leave all the age groups selectable as an option as long as their data is still being updated.

I am going to try and step back a little from the day-to-day happenings of the vaccine clock. While the data generation is mostly automated, I have still been checking in every day to see how things are going. And whilst I am still unemployed due to a healthy dose of post-high-school-covid-interrupted-gap-year inertia, I would like to be able to do other things without feeling tied to push notifications and my laptop every day.

In a broader sense, I’m sure many Australians who’ve been trapped overseas(and those who’ve been trapped here) for what’s now coming up to two years will be very grateful that border restrictions are easing. I hope that privileged countries like Australia will also redouble their efforts to support the rest of the world through COVID so that we can all feel a little closer again.

Personally, I really have no idea what’s next. I finished high school at the end of 2019 with a vague intent to relax for a few months and then pick up some work around the middle of 2020, with perhaps some part-time study on the side. Well, we all know what happened then. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to stay in the “relax” phase of that “plan” for far longer than I intended, even if it has lead to some inertia, and even though it wasn’t really very relaxing(!) For the short term, I think I’m going to try and get some proper relaxing and fun in. I think we all deserve some joy after…all that.

Whatever way things go, I’ve been making little doodads like the vaccine clock for years now, and I don’t think that’ll change any time soon. I can’t guarantee that they’ll have as wide of an appeal, but I’ll keep on doing things that interest me :)

To sign off, I can’t mention Australian COVID statistics without giving a massive shout out to Ken Tsang of COVID-19 Near Me and the vaccine data feed, Anthony Macali of COVID Live, and Casey Briggs at the ABC. I can’t thank them all enough for their countless hours of work bringing data to the public. I think we’ve all learned the value of accessible and well-presented data over the past two years, and I’d love to see some of the transparency that we (eventually) achieved grow and continue into the future…just maybe in a CSV this time instead of a PDF of a PowerPoint of a database 😑

And of course, thanks to everyone who got vaccinated. Whether six months ago or just yesterday, we’ve all carried the torch in this relay, though only for about 1 second each on average :p