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Don't give a sausage: True believers won't be changing their minds any time soon

Opinion

Among our unvaccinated, there are people who couldn’t be bothered getting the jab, and others who are bothered enough to risk their lives , writes Rebecca Levingston

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When was the last time you changed your mind?

I used to dislike coriander. It tasted like stink bugs. Then I ate Thai food for the first time. That was 25 years ago and I’ve loved that green herb ever since.

For most of my life, I didn’t like honey, now I pour it on yoghurt like I’m Mr Whippy. That only changed a year ago. The bees aren’t doing anything different, I guess I changed.

Changing your mind as you get older, gets harder. We assume we get smarter. But do we just get less flexible?

You wonder why, when we have access to more information and greater perspective as we age. Perhaps there’s some comfort in confidence, regardless of accuracy.

What would change the mind of a person who is not yet vaccinated? This week at work I watched the text line light up with capital letter cries of “poison” and “coercion” from people who most certainly will not be changing their minds anytime soon.

“Bullying” by the medical world, said one of my listeners. All I asked about was whether people were making Christmas plans now the reopening roadmap has been revealed. The double-vaxxed requirement for border crossings prompted alarming conspiracy theories. To dismiss the attitude as unhinged is tempting, but it doesn’t help change the public health imperative.

If you’re not vaccinated yet, it’s a choice isn’t it? Would a politician visiting your city change your mind? Guess we’ll find out after the pollie travel spree through the regions.

How about a snag with your jab. Is that a game changer? Convenience or evidence, they’ll both play a role. Take a look at the ICU admissions or death rates in other states that are far higher for unvaccinated people. Still doesn’t convince some to roll up a sleeve.

This week I chatted with a bloke who needs to fly to Western Australia for work. He wasn’t keen to get vaccinated until his boss made it mandatory. Technically he didn’t change his mind, just got a new motivation – employment.

Another young woman told me she lived through lockdown in Victoria and delayed vaccination. She said she didn’t want to be told what to do with her body. Eventually she moved to Queensland and gained a new perspective on the jab, based on protecting others.

When she heard someone say it’s un-Australian to enforce vaccination, she confessed she now thought it was un-Australian to not get vaccinated. Hard to know the state of mind of some Australians it seems. It won’t be long before the Queensland mindset becomes clear.

Right now, the Prime Minister is trying to change the Deputy Prime Minister’s mind about climate change policy. They’ve hit some snags and there are plenty of political jabs to come. Who’s going to win that contest of ideas? The whole world will soon know.

Changing minds is a complex business. Deadlines and death may factor in the outcome.

And then there’s a difference of opinion that’s not so deadly serious…

In amongst the vaccine talkback this week, I got a text from a listener who told me she changed the station any time I played AC/DC. Ouch.

Fortunately it’s not a mindset that’s going to affect the temperature of the globe or the public health outcomes of a country. So on this one, we can just agree to disagree.

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