Covid is no joke: Councillor

Snowy Valleys Councillor Andrianna Benjamin has added her voice to those urging all in the local community to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

She has plenty of motivation to do so, being a councillor, being in the medical profession – as director of Tumut Health Klinix and was project manager of the Connection Medical Centre – and having had a relative die and others suffer from the virus.

“There are a lot of mixed signals (about Covid-19) in the Snowy Valleys,” she said.

“Obviously because I am working in the medical profession I want to put it out to our community that getting vaccinated is a great initiative with the current Covid outbreak. I myself have been affected with Covid in our family; we have actually had one family member pass away.

“I’ve had staff with Covid (in Sydney), staff’s family s with Covid, so it’s very important for me to express to the community that Covid’s not a joke. Everyone is entitled to what they believe in, everyone has their own freedoms; this is why we live in the best country in the world, but at the end of the day it’s a very, very nasty virus.

“Just being on the phone to a family member or staff member who can’t talk because they can’t breathe; it is heartbreaking.”

From the point of view of a Councillor, Cr Benjamin would like to see everyone in the Snowy Valleys community step up and get vaccinated, and if they are in doubt about anything, talk to their doctor to get advice if it is safe for them to get it, and what the side effects are.

She has had her first dose of the vaccine, and will get her second tomorrow in Tumut.

“From the personal perspective of a community member, I want to make sure get across the line,” she said.

“We are nearly there, and we’re at the end of the road, but we have to make sure our community is committed, and if they are in doubt, seek help. People are on edge out there, but at the end of the day we are going through a pandemic, and we need to make sure we are kind to everyone.”

She concedes that the pandemic has brought the worst out in a lot of people.

“A lot of people are suffering, and there’s a lot of negativity out there in the community,” she said.

“Businesses have gone broke because of it. At the end of the day, I think we all want to get out and travel. We want people coming to our region as well; we want our economy to boost, but we need everyone to get in their and get vaccinated.”

Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes has urged the community to get the jab, but Deputy Mayor and paramedic John Larter has taken a now nationally-famous stand against mandatory vaccination for health workers.

Cr Benjamin may also be urging people to get vaccinated, but does not believe it should be mandatory.

“Everyone has their own personal opinion,” she said.

“We live with a lot of freedoms, in a country that is full of freedom; we are free to do whatever we want, but it should be a personal opinion of whether you get vaccinated or not, but I do urge people to get it. I don’t think it should be compulsory. Everyone has their own right to say whether they do want it or they don’t. You can still get Covid even with (having had) a Covid injection. It depends on your age group, your health, whether you have respiratory problems.