Planning for a COVID-19 Future: A Road Map for Co-Existence

and a Resilient Australian Society

Posted 01 October 2021

TAGS: COVID-19; resilience; response; transition; recovery; conflict; vaccine hesitancy; acceptable risk; International Risk Governance Council;  risk assessment; concern assessment; trans-science; sustainable development; inter-generational equity; public health; public participation; information conflicts; health literacy; scientific innovation; diffusion, adoption, vaccination

1.0   The global COVID-19 pandemic has triggered controversy on the appropriate problem-solving pathway for Australia to adopt to effectively address the pandemic.

2.0   Restrictive actions and measures introduced to manage public health risk have led to adverse economic, social, and cultural impacts and inequalities, igniting public controversy and conflict.

3.0   But has Australia really drifted into the outcome as described in this recent media critique?

“Around the world Australia has gone from hero to zero

in our panicked handling of this pandemic

and the lack of balanced analysis of the harm of lockdowns versus the harm of COVID”.

4.0   An effective future national plan for Australia’s COVID-19 future should be based on two inter-dependent and mutually supporting cornerstones: -

(i)   The plan should resonate with a vision for a resilient Australian society. Resilience is a unifying scientific concept having a long history of application in the management of natural and human systems following disturbance e.g., for human systems, a global pandemic. The concept of resilience is based on two phases having quite different goals: -    Response to, and Recovery from, the disturbance; and

(ii)  Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is clearly a classic sustainable development problem to resolve - not simply a public health crisis!

Misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic -

caused by different opinions on what scientific information is relevant,

different interpretations of the same information

or insufficient information, has created scientific information conflicts.

A conflict management approach to planning for a resilient society,

in a post-COVID-19 future, is outlined in a 3-part article.


Part 1: Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic ~

Information Conflicts and Health Literacy

TAGS: COVID-19; resilience; response; conflict; vaccine hesitancy; health literacy; vaccination; scientific innovation; diffusion; adoption; economics; mental health.

1.0   Mixed messages on some vaccination issues have led to information conflicts causing confusion for people in deciding on whether to get vaccinated.

2.0   Where the public health message is mixed or not clear, it may ignite existing vaccine concerns or create doubt about the vaccine - and so be a trigger for vaccine hesitancy.

3.0   The challenge for science is to promote better informed decision-making by the public on COVID-19 vaccination by communicating a clear public health message that promotes health literacy.

4.0   The role that concepts for the diffusion and adoption of scientific innovations have to facilitate health literacy  is outlined.


Part 2: Transitioning to Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic ~

Risk Appraisal, Concern Assessment and Vaccine Hesitancy

TAGS: COVID-19; resilience; transition; recovery; public health; vaccine hesitancy; acceptable risk; trans-science; International Risk Governance Council; risk assessment; concern assessment; health literacy.

1.0   Whether society considers a COVID-19 health risk to be acceptable is, in part, influenced by perceptions of its impacts. This question also raises a trans-science issue: "How safe is safe enough"?

2.0   Risk perception involves people’s feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and judgements. It is at the core of understanding vaccine hesitancy.

3.0   Risk appraisal based on both risk assessment and concern assessment would lead to better-informed decision-making by the public on COVID-19 vaccination.

4.0  It would also enhance public trust and confidence in vaccination and COVID‑19 vaccines as well as promoting health literacy.



Part 3: Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic ~

Co-Existence and Sustainable Development

TAGS: COVID-19; resilience; recovery; impacts – public health, economics, social, cultural; inter-generational equity; sustainable development; methodology - multi-objective analysis; public participation.

1.0   Any plan for recovery must focus on a future in which it may be improbable to reduce COVID-19 health risks to a zero level. Co-existence with COVID-19 should be seen as the norm for a resilient society.

2.0   Recovery from the pandemic also needs to be seen as a classic sustainable development problem for Government to resolve – not simply a public health issue.
3.0   Any recovery plan should minimize the extent to which costs and benefits are shared disproportionately between generations.

4.0   The recovery plan requires sustainable solutions that resonate with the principle of intergenerational equity – a concept of fairness between generations. The principle is the foundation for sustainable development.



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