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Byron Shire
September 21, 2023

Vaccinating koalas

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Tweed Council seeks businesses to join it’s rail trail ‘Connect Program’ 

Paying for the maintenance and providing an engaging visitor experience for the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is a key aspect of Tweed Shire Council’s (TSC) Connect Program. 

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Cartoon of the week – 20 September 2023

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra is a Real Gem

Season two of the Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra sees performances of Classical Gems conducted by Chen Yang in two shows with concert one on Sunday, 24 September at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre and concert two on Sunday, 8 October at Bond University.

The Chinny Charge run on a perfect day

Jack Gill was the first past the post at Saturday's run up Mt Chincogan for this year's Chinny Charge.

Partial closure of Wollumbin Street bridge from Sept 25

Tweed Shire Council is urging motorists to plan ahead and seek alternative routes between the CBD and South Murwillumbah for up to four weeks from 25 September when essential works to upgrade the town’s main sewer main are undertaken.

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Editorial: It’s a social housing party!

After six months of bickering, federal political parties of similar stripes – Labor and Greens – came together and said ‘Yes’ to a $10b social/affordable housing package. 

It is interesting to read that the program of catching and vaccinating wild koalas against chlamydial disease is happening in the Northern Rivers region.

If your curiosity has been piqued by the recent article in The Echo (17 May 2023) let me assure you that although Chlamydia pecorum and Chlamydia pneumoniae can cause STD infections in koalas, it is not the Chlamydia trachomitis organism implicated in human sexually transmitted disease (STD). 

Chlamydial infections in koalas is a disease endemic in nature and has not, in this or any other circumstance, emanated either from bats or a laboratory. 

This link provides an excellent summary of chlamydia in koalas in nature. (Take particular note of the paragraphs called ‘Research’ and ‘Conclusions’ on page 5.) 

I wonder: Was a study conducted to determine the risk versus benefit of this vaccine for preventing chlamydial infections in these wild animals?  

Did the proponents of this project consider the physical and psychological consequences of human handling, capture, deprivation of natural environment, enforced medical interventions and disruption of normal life routine for these wild creatures? Did the proponents of this project consider whether or not the vaccinated animals on release would continue to cohabit harmoniously with any ‘vaccine free’ animals encountered in the wild? 

Did the researchers conduct a randomised double-blind trial before commencing mass vaccinations in order to determine if there would be any vaccine injuries occurring in these animals? If yes, how many animals were surveyed? What was the age range and gender of the trial cohort? 

Do the vaccinators intend to monitor the vaccinated animals at regular intervals in the future to discover whether or not unexpected consequences relating to this novel vaccine have occurred? Do the vaccinators intend to conduct regular press releases to inform us of the incidence of infections, the up-take of vaccines and the efficacy of this novel pharmaceutical product?  

Did the proponents of this vaccination program consider non-invasive alternatives, such as advocating for the preservation of natural habitat where the koalas can live a normal and productive life according to nature’s intention? 

After all, if there are any doubts as to how a mass vaccination program should be run, then we only have to ‘follow the science’ and review the last three years of human history. 

P Gumley, Wilsons Creek

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  1. I had hopes of an intelligent letter after the first para, but they were soon dashed…

    Final para implies a disaster in terms of COVID – but if you “ Follow the science” I think you’ll find that worldwide vaccination programs , for all their flaws, saved millions of lives. Please don’t respond with YouTube videos by “researchers” with white supremacist or nazi assertions – I’m kinda done with those

  2. should we let Koalas continue to die from a disease, or should we attempt to help them ?

    anti-vax people are nutters, should all be sent to a country rife with hepatitis, polio and other preventable diseases via vaccines, and live there if they want to see first hand how vaccines are an essential component of modern medicine. I spent 4 years in africa building school toilets and the number of kids permanently disfigured from polio or contracting things like hepatitis was beyond sad.

    more and more the far left and far right are becoming the same thing, ideological based beings with pre-determined minds, its almost like a replacement for religion, considering religion is on the decline, i believe its these types of ideological movements based on anti-science which are taking the place of religious thought, in other words not logical thought processes but more based on belief.

    some people don’t realise what we have in this country, they live in a bubble and should leave this bubble if they don’t appreciate what we have.

    • So you lived in a place that lacked modern sanitation, and the people had diseases that don’t exist is countries that have modern sanitation. Would they happen to have also lacked proper nutrition vital for a health immune system? Did they happen to have cultural practices, including food preparation practices, that promote the spread of bacteria and viruses? Do they have basic medical care to keep them healthy? I could go on, and on, but you don’t want to hear our ‘anti-science’.

  3. Mick: did you not see the irony in my letter?
    To immediately jump to conclusions often leads to an unintended notion of separativeness where self applied virtue suggests superiority of one’s thought over that of others.
    I’m not an anti-vax nutter! I am also politically neutral.
    I’m double vaxed and boosted, however I believe it is essential to note that to whether to vax or not vax is a personal choice that may suit some but not others.
    I am a retired medical scientist who recognizes that certain vaccinations are appropriate where a risk versus benefit assessment so indicates.
    I admire your dedication to helping others in less fortunate circumstances – the World is a better place for such efforts.
    In our community hepatitis A and polio are now uncommon or rare diseases largely due to the provision of modern community infrastructure.
    As you know by experience the provision of clean water, sanitary human waste disposal and education that includes basic tenets of personal hygiene and good dietary practice are appropriate programs that provide the basics of better health and independence for 3rd World communities.
    These practices are achievable at little cost and with initial guidance can be maintained by the communities such as you have assisted.


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