Australian Government messaging on Covid Vaccines

  • Everyone is going to get vaccinated! We have dates!
  • OK, we might miss some dates. But that's Italy's fault! They were mean and didn't let us have some of the vaccines we told you we bought, but never told you the manufacturers didn't have any hope of delivering in the timelines we told you.
  • We're definitely going to miss the initial dates.
  • We're not going to miss any more dates, because we're not setting any more dates, so we can't blow any more deadlines, because there aren't any more deadlines.
  • There's no problem with the AZ vaccine.
  • There might be a problem with the AZ vaccine, but don't worry.
  • We've bought metric bucketloads of Pfizer for unrelated reasons, but AZ is safe.
  • Nobody under the age of 50 is allowed to have AZ. You guys should wait for Pfizer. But for everyone else, AZ is safe. Totally safe.
  • Pay no attention to the people who had that reaction. Everything's under control. We're distributing the vaccine to GPs, because it's all about small business.
  • No, 50 doses per week for a GPs office is a perfectly adequate number. The states shouldn't even bother opening mass vaccination centers.
  • We'll be vaccinated by October. Or the end of the year. Or 2023. There is no contradiction.
  • Yeah, sure, people should probably be going to the mass vaccination centers which were totally our idea.
  • No, we haven't got enough Pfizer yet.
  • Why aren't you lining up for AZ?
  • I mean, if you want to wait for Pfizer, you can.
  • But you should take AZ now.
  • Except you: you can't have AZ. You have to wait for Pfizer. AZ is dangerous.
  • Seriously, why aren't people lining up around the block for AZ?
  • I blame the media.

I don't blame anyone who doesn't feel safe taking AZ. That said, I would totally take AZ right now it that were an option, which I am being yelled at by the government is 1) not an option, and at the same time 2) I should be ashamed for not taking the AZ vaccine they're telling me I'm not allowed to have. 

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I've been sitting on this in a tab for a few days, trying to get my head around how angry it makes me: To get ahead as an introvert, act like an extravert. It’s not as hard as you think.

It's as patronising and supercilious as you'd guess from the title.

Have you tried... not being autistic an introvert?

I'm not really exaggerating, there.
"Nor is it as hard as you may think. Research shows introverts overestimate the unpleasantness and underestimate the “hedonic benefits” of acting extraverted. One study even suggests introverts feel more authentic when acting extraverted."

So... Being introverted is dumb and wrong and you'd feel so much better if you just pretended to be extraverted, because being extraverted is just better. Introverts think there's a downside to pretending to be extraverted, but what would they know?

Which, frankly, sounds like exactly the sort of bullshit that big loud cheerful extraverts have been yelling at introverts for, well, forever. "CHEER UP AND TALK TO PEOPLE AND YOU'LL FEEL BETTER! GO TO A PARTY! IT ALWAYS MAKES ME FEEL BETTER!"

Then I looked at another open tab, and realised that someone else had already made a better counterpoint. It is:
Mitchell, P., Sheppard, E. and Cassidy, S. (2021), Autism and the double empathy problem: Implications for development and mental health. Br J Dev Psychol.
This article proposes a link between autistic people being misperceived by the neurotypical majority and their being at risk of poor mental health and well‐being. We present a transactional account of development in which the misperceptions (and consequent behaviour) of the neurotypical majority influences the perceptions and behaviour of autistic people such that they become increasingly separate and indeed isolated from mainstream society. This jeopardizes their mental health and prevents autistic people from developing to full potential. The situation is not only problematical for the development of autistic people but is also to the detriment of wider society, in so far as autistic people are effectively prevented from contributing fully. This account assumes that some (not necessarily all) autistic people yearn to be included, to be productive and to be useful. It thus directly opposes accounts that view autism as an extreme case of diminished social motivation.

I think it's worthwhile to quote and add emphasis to this paragraph from the Background:
A further aim is to explore the developmental consequences of this barrier for each group (autistic and neurotypical). Autistic people, who are in the minority, might respond by trying to hide or camouflage their autism‐specific style of social interaction and attempt to emulate the social interaction style of the neurotypical majority (Hull et al, 2019). This strategy could enable a degree of access to neurotypical social experiences and indeed a degree of acceptability therein, but at psychological cost owing to the effort that has to be exerted (Hull et al, 2017), coupled with the stress associated with the risk of being ‘found out’ (Cage & Troxell‐Whitman, 2019). Worryingly, research is identifying a strong association between camouflaging autistic traits, with poor mental health, well‐being, and high rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviours in autistic people (Cassidy et al., 2018; Cassidy et al, 2019). We urgently need to further understand the risks to mental health arising from the stress associated with this camouflaging behaviour, coupled with the sense of isolation, and consequent feelings of loneliness. Our aim is to explore whether such experiences could lead the individual to feel not valued and unwanted, perhaps leading to a fatal outcome if the individual feels they are a burden on society and that the world would be better off without them, with suicide perceived as the only available option.

But no, please, continue to explain to me how all my problems would be solved if I just used all my available resources to desperately pretend to be something I'm not in the hope it will make other people like me better.

No autist has ever thought of that.
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(no subject)

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide.”

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Happy Friday the 13th.

To stave off all-consuming anxiety, autists require a larger than normal amount of routine and predictability to be able to function.

Covid19 increasingly, and globally, means that there is no routine, and nothing can be predicted.

If you've got people in the spectrum in your life, they will be needing something routine to hold on to right about now, and for the forseeable future.

And on a lot of these traits, autists are just like most people except more sensitive, so if you're not on the spectrum, you may also need something routine and predictable to center yourself on before long.

Just saying.

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I am not a doctor.

But here are my thoughts on Covid-19, because "thought" seems to be a vanishing rare thing on that topic:
  • Q: Is it really that dangerous?
    We don't know yet. It's likely that its total mortality rate is going to end up lower than you might expect, because many, most, maybe even almost all cases are mild to unnoticeable. If you've got a mild sniffle, or no symptoms at all (as has also been reported), then you're not going to go report to the ED unless you're already there or you're really cautious. The mortality rate looks high, at the moment, because the people being reported are the ones who are really sick, and they are more likely to die. But they're being reported because they're really sick, so that skews the population you're measuring. But this is still early days, and we haven't had time to collect and analyse the data. But we will eventually have a pretty good idea what's going on, because
  • Q: Is it going to be endemic?
    It already is endemic. Covid-19 is already out in the world, and it's not going to go away. It's got a long, symptom-free, contagious incubation period, so by the time it was noticed, it was already outside China and spreading. It's now thoroughly endemic in China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, and the USA.
  • Q: Why hasn't it spread so quickly into the US?
    It almost certainly is already endemic in the US, and has been for a long time (as this sort of thing goes). It's just that the US doesn't have a Health System, it has fifty-mumble of them (fifty states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, plus the Federal system.
    Except... even those aren't systems, so much as weakened bureaucracies trying to keep health insurance companies and their associated service delivery locations (also known as "hospitals") under some sort of co-ordination, with no noticeable success.
    And the Federal system is under the control of a demented sociopath, who is more concerned that the numbers make him look good than that the situation is actually under control, and that he has flunkies fighting for his approval than that there is anyone actually competent in control of anything. Do not expect any useful, or even correct, information out of the White House. The sorts of people who will be getting information out there in the US system will be doing so at Li Wenliang levels of personal risk.
  • Q: If it's already out there, then aren't the quarantines and travel restrictions just a waste of time then?
    Yes and no. Yes, in that it's coming anyway. In fact, it's already here. If there's been travel somewhere, they should expect to have been exposed. No, it's not a waste of time, because that's what the authorities are buying: time. Time to build up information, time to determine treatment regimes, time to get emergency measures in place, time to spread out the initial wave of cases, so they don't all turn up at the ED at once.
  • Q: So I should be worried?
    Yes, but probably not as much as you think you should. It's looking to be worse than the usual flu, but probably not 1919 worse. And if you're relatively young, then you might not even notice it. But the older you are, the worse it seems to be, so you probably should be worried for your elderly parents or grandparents, and for god sake don't go to a retirement village or nursing home if you've got a sniffle.
  • Q: Do I need to hoard gather supplies?
  • Q: So why can't I get toilet paper or hand sanitiser?
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." (— Agent K, Men in Black)

This is not medical advice. See your doctor if pain persists. Do not exceed recommended dose.

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Goodbye 2019. Don't let the door hit your arse.

I've recently had my forty-sixth birthday, and it affected me more than I thought it would. I came to the realisation that I'm no longer getting older, now I'm just getting old.

Normally I'd say goodbye to the year with the wish "may next year be better than last."

At first, that was optimism.

Then it was hope.

Now, it just seems to be begging for trouble, with the incoming year hearing it and responding "... hold my beer."

Let's all just wish for a new year without any fucking Nazis in it. For a change.

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