As the bubbly goes on ice in Sydney, ready to be popped whenever so called ‘Freedom Day’ is officially announced, elsewhere in NSW mixed messages abound. Take the somewhat hedonistic playground of Byron Bay for example. Branded by some as the anti-vax capital of the State, due to its very low vaccination rates, it went into lockdown last week with just a single corona virus case reported. In fairness the local mayor, Michael Lyon has stated that once the Pfizer vaccine becomes more readily available in the Byron Shire, vaccination rates will increase.
Just prior to their lockdown announcement we saw news footage of a packed Beach Hotel, with hundreds of party people drinking, dancing and celebrating amidst the bliss of a supposedly COVID free environment. Whether there will be a rush of punters to get jabbed once Pfizer stocks arrive, remains to be seen. In the meantime some sections of the Byron community are asking potentially virus ridden Sydneysiders to stay away over the Christmas holiday period, if travel restrictions are lifted.
Whilst mandatory vaccination and passports for the inoculated are still a vexed (or is that vaxed) issue, and many grey areas are still to be clarified, it appears there will always be a small minority who shun the jab. Be it a medical objection or a supposed freedom issue, those that chose not to be vaxed risk becoming a cluster of pariahs – barred from pubs, clubs, restaurants, air travel and numerous other sectors of the community.
The question remains, given the kinds of chaos we have seen in Melbourne with the ongoing street demonstrations, how can the vaccinated majority placate and accommodate the minority of anti-vaxers and hardcore right wing libertarians. One radical suggestion that’s recently come to hand is the establishment of designated unvaccinated zones, where the unvaxed could live, work and party, free from any kind of COVID restrictions – a bit like Byron Bay!
Naturally in choosing to reside in one of these zones you would be prohibited from travelling to any area of the State or Australia for that matter, where over 80% of the population had been vaxed. Think of these multiple ‘freedom’ zones like a kind of Hutt River Province of the unvaccinated, with apologies of course to the late Prince Leonard. Each jurisdiction would require its own charismatic leader, someone in the mould of Craig Kelly, George Christensen or Pete Evans, to bind and unite the population in a common ideology.
Rather than test their citizens for COVID, these provinces would in fact test to see if anybody had been vaccinated – an immediate betrayal of belief that would spell instant expulsion. Should anybody fall seriously sick, from a bad case of the ‘flu’ there would be ample supplies of Ivermectin on hand. As a positive byproduct these provinces would become the most worm and scabie free zones in the whole country.
Eventually, whilst geographically separated throughout the State, the various provinces could well combine as a common entity – the proudly pariah state within a state. It could well be called UNVAXIA, and become a haven for the ‘true believers’ – in QAnon, the Proud Boys, Andrew Wakefield, Australia First and the Craig Kelly FB page. Whilst the vaccinated would be banned from entering Unvaxia, the rest of NSW (and possibly Australia) might allow some Unvaxians to enter their precincts provided they donned full Hazmat style PPE gear. The concession might apply on humanitarian grounds, to attend a footy final or receive root canal therapy at the Dental Hospital (hey, nobody should suffer in pain).
Whether Unvaxia would even secede from the Commonwealth remains to be seen. A defacto secession, a la Hutt River, could well be on the cards with income derived from the sale of their own passports and tourist nic nacs. Unvaxia could also pull in international currency with its own postage stamps, but then again who in their right mind would risk licking one?