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News and Reviews

How to broach the sensitive question of COVID vaccination status

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

How to broach the sensitive question of COVID vaccination status

Over the next couple of months, there will be a need to navigate conversations and questions that we have probably never thought about before – about someone’s COVID vaccination status.

While the numbers of those fully vaccinated continue to rise around Australia, a sizeable proportion of the population still remain unvaccinated. Children 12 and over can now get the jab, but kids under 12 remain unvaccinated for now.

It’s reassuring to know that children appear to be less likely to be hospitalised with COVID compared to adults, but children are getting COVID – often due to transmission in the household, from an infected adult.

Researchers say the best way to protect younger kids, and adults, from COVID is to ensure as many adults as possible are fully vaccinated.

Dr Ashneeta Prasad, a clinical psychology registrar from UNSW’s School of Psychology, says for many families, knowing the parents of their child’s friends are vaccinated may provide them with some sense of peace. But the choice to ask another person about their vaccination status is ultimately up to the parent/adult. “Over the last few months, it appears we as a country have been shifting our approach from eliminating cases to learning to live with COVID-19 as vaccination rates increase,” Dr Prasad says. “During this transition, some families may view asking about vaccination status as a useful way to manage their residual concerns about COVID-19 circulating within the community as we learn to navigate the post-lockdown world.”

Infectious disease social scientist from UNSW’s School of Population Health, Associate Professor Holly Seale is a parent of two children under the age of 10 years. She says it’s important to have these discussions with adults before catching up with them, or parents prior to having a playdate. “I have never previously asked a parent about whether their children are vaccinated prior to playdates,” she says. “I do make some assumptions that those within my close network have vaccinated their children. Sometimes this is easy to work out due to the child’s attendance at childcare which requires vaccination. I have also been in situations where parents have told me their children are unvaccinated unprompted, to allow me the opportunity to navigate whether I want our children to play together.”

Dr Prasad says before approaching conversations about vaccination status with other parents/caregivers or adults, it’s helpful to first consider what boundaries you are wanting to uphold. She says some things to
consider would be: whether you require one or both (if applicable) parents/caregivers to be vaccinated;; and whether your boundaries vary depending on the setting, duration, or type of activity.
A/Prof Seale agrees with this approach. “If the family has a child over the age of 12 that has not received their vaccine, will you proceed with catching up?,” she says. “Perhaps you may be more comfortable sticking to outdoor activities.”

Dr Prasad says when initiating a conversation about vaccination status, it can be useful to frame the question within the broader context of why it is being asked. “This could begin with expressing relief that some gatherings are now possible and mentioning how you have been looking forward to socialising in person,” she says. “Then you could disclose that you may still have lingering concerns about COVID-19 circulating within the community and to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy, you are trying to ensure that the people you are meeting up with in person are vaccinated. Providing this bigger picture before explicitly asking someone if they are vaccinated can help ease them into the conversation and promote more open and respectful communication.”

A/Prof. Seale points to a recent piece in The Conversation which highlights that offering your own vaccine status first may help break the ice. “This is a logical step as it supports setting the social norm,” she says. “As part of this process, you can acknowledge that it is a strange or difficult time. It’s important to be clear and transparent about why you are asking and be open to finding alternative options or delaying the catch up until later in the year.”

But what if some people decline to answer? “It is important that we don’t assume that they are vaccine refusers but instead may have a health condition that means they are unable to get vaccinated or they are still trying to navigate their decision around the vaccine,” A/Prof Seale says.

If the answer is no, it is helpful to be honest and transparent about your views while remaining respectful, Dr Prasad says. “You could begin with describing the situation and respectfully acknowledging that there appears to be a difference in both parties are managing their approaches to COVID-19,” she says. “You could then follow up by calmly reinforcing your preferences in this situation. Try your best to use ‘I’ statements that frame your decision to delay or abstain from in person meetings as a personal choice made for yourself, rather than a consequence of the other person’s vaccination status”.

It is possible that these conversations could elicit feelings of rejection or embarrassment, so it can be helpful to remain sensitive to their feelings, she says. “If possible, acknowledge and validate their feelings: for example, “I understand if this is upsetting or frustrating for you”, and avoid using blaming or accusatory language which can cause tensions to escalate further.”

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News and Reviews

Man charged following unit fire – Tweed Heads

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Man charged following unit fire – Tweed Heads

A man has been charged following a unit fire on the far north coast yesterday.

About 10.50pm (Thursday 17 March 2022), police attended an address on Boundary Street, Tweed Heads, after reports of a concern for welfare.

Upon arrival, officers attached to Tweed/Byron Police District spoke to a woman before observing a fire in a separate unit.

Fire and Rescue NSW attended and extinguished the blaze.

A 23-year-old man was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics after sustaining injuries when he jumped from a second-storey balcony.

He was arrested and taken to Tweed Heads Hospital for treatment before being taken to Tweed Heads Police Station.

Up to 20 people were evacuated from the unit block and two neighbouring unit complexes.

Eight police officers were also treated for minor smoke inhalation, with four officers taken to hospital. They have since been released.

There were no other reports of injuries.

The man has been charged with nine offences including destroy or damage property, aggravated break, enter and commit indictable offence, common assault and five counts of destroy or damage property with intention of endangering life.

He was refused bail and will appear at Ballina Local Court today (Friday 18 March 2022).

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A red sports car, new house and holidays: Coffs Harbour’s $60 million Powerball winner reveals wish list

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A red sports car, new house and holidays: Coffs Harbour’s $60 million Powerball winner reveals wish list

Video grabs about the Coffs Harbour Powerball winner is available here
Audio grabs about the Coffs Harbour Powerball winner is available here
Footage of tonight’s Powerball draw is available here

  • A Coffs Harbour man is ready to park a new sports car in the garage of his new house after scoring more than $60 million in last night’s Powerball draw.
  • The New South Wales player held one of the two division one winning entries nationally in Powerball draw 1345 on Thursday 24 February 2022. Each division one winning entry scored $63,309,056.98.
  • The other division one winning entry from last night’s draw was from Western Australia.
  • Despite becoming one of Australia’s newest multi-millionaires, the down-to-earth Coffs Harbour resident said he would still turn up to work today.
  • His winning entry was purchased at Coffs News, Shop 104, 92-98 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour.

A Coffs Harbour man is ready to park a new sports car in the garage of his new house after scoring more than $60 million in last night’s Powerball draw.

The New South Wales player held one of the two division one winning entries nationally in Powerball draw 1345 on Thursday 24 February 2022. Each division one winning entry scored $63,309,056.98.

The other division one winning entry from last night’s draw was from Western Australia.

The New South Wales multi-million-dollar winning entry was not registered to a player card, which meant officials from The Lott couldn’t contact the winner last night.

However, the middle-aged family man checked his ticket this morning, prompting immediate celebrations.

“Oh mate! It’s unbelievable!” he cried.

“It’s like a dream come true. I just never thought I’d win like this.

“I just checked my ticket earlier this morning. I scanned it on the app. I just couldn’t believe it. It came up as division one!  Oh mate, it’s huge!

“Happy days!

“I’ve started a wish list already. Straight up – a red sports car, a new house, holidays, you name it. I also really want to look after my family.

“It’s funny as I’ve been watching the news all morning, and they were saying someone’s won Powerball in Coffs Harbour. I’m sitting here thinking, ‘I can’t believe that winner is me!’.

“I’m going to have a weekend of celebrations with my family, but I still have to work today.”

The regular player’s winning entry was purchased at Coffs News, Shop 104, 92-98 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour.

Coffs News owner Darren Girard said his entire team was celebrating the massive division one win.

“It’s so exciting for the winner,” he said.

“We’re a big part of the community, so to know a local has won is just amazing.

“Last night, we discovered we’d sold the winning ticket and we were over the moon. We barely slept a wink; we were up thinking about the win and what we could do to promote it.

“This is our biggest division one win, so it’s a big moment for us, too. Bring on the next big win!

“Congratulations to our winner. We appreciate their support and hope this multi-million-dollar prize makes a great difference to their life.”

In addition to the two division one winners in last night’s draw, there were 36 division two winners who shared more than $2.7 million, receiving $77,385.90 each. There were also 5,558,090 winners in divisions two to nine who collected $100,574,184.70 in prizes.

Western Australian lottery operator Lotterywest will be liaising with the Western Australian with the division one winning entry from last night’s draw.

There have now been three Powerball division one winning entries across Australia so far in 2022 that have scored more than $200 million.

The winning numbers in Powerball draw 1345 on Thursday 24 February 2022 were 6, 15, 9, 27, 32, 28, 33. The all-important Powerball number was 8.

The Lott’s division one winning tally has now reached 294 so far this financial year, including 97 won by NSW Lotteries customers.

In 2021, 14 Powerball division one winners across Australia pocketed more than $550.1 million in prize money.

During this time, Powerball offered an $80 million jackpot three times – the biggest prize offered by any Australian lottery game during the year.

Of the 14 Powerball division one winning entries in 2021, seven landed in New South Wales, four in Queensland, two in Victoria and one in Western Australia.

More chances to win

There are more chances to win big with a boosted $10 million division one prize pool in this weekend’s Saturday Lotto and Tuesday’s Oz Lotto offering $5 million.

Tonight’s Set for Life draw offers players the chance to win a division one prize of $20,000 a month for 20 years – that’s $20K on Replay! Set for Life is the only game that allows you to play your numbers across seven consecutive daily draws – meaning you have the chance to win $20K on Replay every day of the week.

The Lucky Lotteries Mega Jackpot prize is now $7.49 million for draw 1562, while the Lucky Lotteries Super Jackpot prize is now $7.92 million for draw 10532.

Tickets can be purchased at any licenced lottery outlet, online from thelott.com or via The Lott mobile app.

The official home of Australia’s lotteries, The Lott operates and markets Australia’s leading lottery games customers know and love creating everyday winners, winning every day.

In 2021, more than 130.8 million winners took home more than $3.79 billion in prize money from their favourite games at The Lott, including Saturday Lotto, Monday & Wednesday Lotto, Powerball, Oz Lotto, Set for Life, Lucky Lotteries, Keno, Super 66, Lotto Strike and Instant Scratch-Its.

Last financial year, Australia’s official lotteries contributed more than $1.5 billion via state lottery taxes and donations to help community initiatives, such as hospitals, health research, disaster relief and education.

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