In the race to vax the nation, Bendigo is a shining light, with more than 52 per cent of us who are eligible having already had our first jab and more than 25 per cent of people aged 15 and over are fully vaccinated.
Well done - we should be proud, if only just for today, that when it comes to first jabs, no other community in Australia has done it better so far.
And we should keep on keeping on because the benefits to be gained from mass vaccination will only come when we achieve even better results.
While the numbers as of August 1 might not seem that high compared to the lofty expectations our federal government placed on itself when the vaccination program started earlier this year, the reality is the Bendigo community has proven itself to be willing to roll up its collective sleeve and get on with the jab.
We know, and accept, that the best way to counter future outbreaks and to reduce the possibility of having to shut down entire communities and experience more economic hardship and mental health concerns is to get as many of us vaccinated - and as quickly as we can.
Governments that would have us believe there is no race should by now realise urgency is needed. And even more importantly - we need more supplies of precious vaccines. And campaign messaging and facts that provide assurances, not confusion or uncertainty.
While tragically, a very small number of Australians have lost their lives due to a reaction to having a vaccine, the unassailable truth is that thousands more lives would be lost if we were not committed to vaccinating as many Australians as possible, as quickly as we possibly can.
And while today we say 'well done' to everyone in Bendigo who has lined up for a vaccine so far, we must also accept there is still a long way to go in this battle. The need to follow the guidelines put in place to help stop the potential spread of coronavirus are just as critical as ever - even if we are all growing tired of having to adhere to them.
It's the only way we will get through this crisis - together.
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