Morning mail: calls to extend aged care vaccination, Covid inequities, and the joy of tinned food

Good morning. A union is calling for the extension to the compulsory vaccination for aged care workers as the Friday deadline approaches. Analysis of green space in greater Sydney reveals another element of how Covid lockdowns are magnifying inequity. The Taliban will allow women to study in universities in gender-segregated classrooms. And it’s time to stop looking down on tinned fruit and veggies as a lesser choice.

The Health Services Union is calling for the federal government to extend compulsory Covid vaccination for aged care workers beyond Friday’s deadline, saying the sector cannot afford to lose even 5% of its workforce. The federal government has said that 90.8% of staff have now received a single dose of a Covid vaccine and 70.5% two doses. The HSU’s federal president, Gerard Hayes, said the government needed to extend the deadline by between two weeks and a month given existing workforce pressures.

The local government areas of concern – which are under the heaviest lockdown restrictions – have some of the lowest access to public open space in greater Sydney, an analysis of data from the Australian Urban Observatory shows. Data from the census also shows a high proportion of larger families in these LGAs, with many of them living in situations of severe overcrowding. “Covid is a magnifier of inequity across cities and [is] really widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots,” RMIT Assoc Prof Melanie Davern said.

The Taliban have announced that women in Afghanistan will be allowed to study at university, but in gender-segregated classrooms with compulsory Islamic dress. Female students will also only be allowed to be taught by women. The subjects being taught at universities would be reviewed, the higher education minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, said.


Health care workers fill syringes with the Pfizer vaccine
Parents in Australia will be able to book Covid vaccine appointments for 12-to-15-year-olds from Monday. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

Scott Morrison has announced an extra 400,000 Covid vaccines will be directed to hotspots in Melbourne this month, after the government secured an extra 1 million doses of Moderna from the EU.

The federal government has also launched a new ad campaign promoting an expanding network of vaccination sites, targeting a “younger age group”. It will see $50m spent trying to convince the 20% of Australians who are reluctant to get a Covid-19 vaccination.

From today, parents will be able to book Covid vaccinations for their 12-15 year olds. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recommended the mRNA-type Moderna vaccine for the age group.

The world

In the US, the Republican backlash is growing against Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate for federal workers and businesses with more than 100 employees. Asa Hutchinson, the governor of Arkansas, called the president’s directive “an unprecedented assumption of federal mandate authority”. Several other red-state governors, including Florida and Texas, have threatened to sue the federal government, arguing that Biden was acting unconstitutionally.

The UK health secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced that plans to make vaccine passports mandatory across England in nightclubs and other crowded spaces later this month have been dropped. Javid hinted at what some have suspected – that the idea was touted by the prime minister, Boris Johnson, in a bid to drive up the lower vaccination rates among younger people.

Almost 2,000 people have fled their homes in six Andalucían towns and villages as Spain sent in a military unit to help firefighters tackle wildfires raging close to a Costa del Sol resort. A blaze killed one emergency worker since it began on Wednesday.

Recommended reads

Australian author Miles Allinson, whose second novel In Moonland is out now through Scribe.
Australian author Miles Allinson, whose second novel In Moonland is out now through Scribe. Photograph: Meghan Lawson

Miles Allinson, 40, is not the first contemporary writer to be drawn into the story of the famous and controversial Indian mystic, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) and his followers, the Rajneeshees. The magnetism of Osho and the promise of utopia at his Indian commune are at the core of Allinson’s second novel, In Moonland. “I am fascinated by that question of spirituality. We are so desperate for something other than what we’ve got, which is this accelerated form of capitalism. Not only has it [capitalism] destroyed the world, but it’s very unsatisfying. It’s tricky to write about those issues in a novel. The novel is a really secular form,” the writer said.

With a mantra of “fresh is best” in modern food thinking, tinned food is often seen as a second choice, and for some an embarrassment in a country of fresh food riches. But tinned produce can be a convenient, speedy and low-waste way to diversify your diet. “With all of the processes now in place to preserve nutrition, not just colour and taste, tinned vegetables are not an offensive option, not an embarrassing option,” says Lucy Tweed, food stylist and author.

What would it take for antivaxxers and climate science deniers to “wake up”? Studies have shown that facts are puny against the carapace of denial when people’s sense of self is at stake. However, in the case of antivaxxers, imminent death seems to do the trick. Climate science deniers are less likely to experience such conversions. While Covid denial and antivax conspiracy theories have grown organically, climate science denial was manufactured and spread by powerful interests, writes Clive Hamilton. He has documented how rightwing Australian thinktanks, funded by the mining industry, imported from the US the arguments and the strategies of the doubt-mongers.


There were 3,051 children who lost a parent on 11 September 2001. In the first of three episodes examining the reverberations of the attacks 20 years on, three of that group, Robyn, Mike and Dan, reflect on the weight of that private grief – and what it meant to grow up in the media spotlight.

Full Story

The children of 9/11

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.


Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren celebrates his victory in the F1 Grand Prix of Italy.
Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren team celebrates his victory in the F1 Grand Prix of Italy. Photograph: Peter Fox/Getty Images

Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix for McLaren but his fine victory was entirely overshadowed by a major crash between championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Quade Cooper capped an incredible Wallabies return in the Rugby Championship, kicking a match-winning penalty after the siren to beat South Africa 28-26 in his first Test for more than four years.

Big wins from the Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs in their preliminary finals has set up a tantalising AFL grand final in Perth, writes Jonathan Horn. “The two sides welded to the top of table for the best part of four months square off again. But now they must wait.”

Media roundup

Australia’s vaccine passport ­technology is set to get a test run in the US, Britain, Japan and Singapore this week to check that it works with potential travel bubble partners, the Courier Mail reports, citing trade minister Dan Tehan. The AFR reports that NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian’s inner circle decided that her daily briefings could create more anxiety in coming weeks (starting from today, there will be no set schedule to her press conferences). The Brisbane Times looks back at the journey to legalise voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill patients in Queensland, which is set to become a law this week.

Coming up

A NSW parliamentary inquiry into the recent Covid outbreak and its management by the state government will hear from Aboriginal elders from Wilcannia, Broken Hill and other areas of western NSW hit by the outbreak, as well as Aboriginal health service providers.

A parliamentary inquiry will hold a hearing into the Morrison government’s proposal to extend waiting periods for new migrants to access welfare support.

And if you’ve read this far …

The Guardian’s picture editors selected the weekend’s best photos from around the world: from Britain’s Emma Raducanu after her historic victory in the US Open to Afghan women at a pro-Taliban rally.

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