Word of the day

23/09/2021

Trypanophobia – irrational fear or aversion to blood or needles; as extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or needles.


Rural round-up

23/09/2021

Think about us – Rural News:

The dairy sector has a simple message for the Government – please take our plight seriously.

Frustration is rife among farmers because the Government seems to be paying lip service to a crucial sector that has kept the company’s economy buzzing for the past 18 months.

Like most primary producers, dairy farmers have been crying out for more overseas workers. However, it’s becoming clear that the Government isn’t genuine about helping dairy farmers.

In June, the Government announced that it will grant border exceptions for 200 dairy farm workers and their families, comprising 150 herd managers or assistant farm managers and 50 farm assistants for critical-need areas only. Within that announcement they specified that herd managers be paid a salary of $79,500 and assistant managers a salary of $92,000 per annum. . .

Councils weigh pest impact – Neal Wallace:

Numbers of pests and game animals are rapidly increasing in parts of the country, regional councils report.

Successive mild seasons, reduced hunter pressure and growing resistance to rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), is leading to increased numbers of deer, goats, wallabies and rabbits in many areas.

The Otago Regional Council’s (ORC) environmental implementation manager Andrea Howard says rabbit density differs across the region, but remains high in parts of Central Otago.

“Several factors influence rabbit populations, including lack of consistent control – and secondary control – by landowners, the naturally reducing impact of introduced viruses, climate change, land-use change, urban spread into historically rabbit-prone rural land and associated reduction in available control tools,” Howard said. . .

Escalating women leaders :

To be a good leader, you have to first know your ‘why’, says Ravensdown shareholder and Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) Escalator programme graduate Donna Cram.

“For me it is to connect people across agricultural communities using values-based communication to empower collaboration.”

Cram, a dairy farmer at Wylan Dene farm near Awatuna in South Taranaki, was one of 14 women chosen by AWDT to take part in their annual Escalator programme. It gives women in the food and fibre sector “the mindsets, skills and connections to lead, govern and inspire”.

Cram says the experience has helped her understand more about her own leadership qualities. . . 

Business grew from quest for flooring :

A business was born when some West Otago dairy farmers were floored by a problem.

White River Holstein Friesians owners Paul and Kyllee Henton struggled to find suitable flooring for their 600-cow wintering shed on their 171ha farm in Kelso.

The fruitless search motivated them to research, develop and manufacture their own flooring solution of heavy duty interlocking rubber mats.

They run their mat company Agri-Tech Imports alongside their 580-cow herd operation.

Mrs Henton, a registered veterinarian, said they had run the farm for 15 years after entering an equity partnership with her parents to buy the property. . . 

Tackling challenges of cheese foe decades – Mary-Jo Tohill:

Plucked from the lab and picked for his first production supervisor’s role in his early 20s, Richard Gray has been saying cheese for 23 years.

From test tubes to testing himself in leadership, Fonterra’s general manager of operations for the lower South Island is helping steer the dairy giant through perilous pandemic times.

Based at Edendale in Southland, Mr Gray said it had more or less been business as usual through the alert levels.

‘‘From the supply chain point of view there has been disruption with delays or longer lead time to deliver, but we’re still exporting well. But it’s the timing, having to adjust some of the production planning processes to allow for that longer lead time.’’ . .

Pocket knife fine sparks alarm – Chris McLennan:

Rural Australians have reacted with alarm over a fine dished out to a Queensland man for carrying a pocket knife.

Wayne McLennan, aged 75, was last week fined $100 for unlawful possession of a weapon because of a small pocket knife he carried in a pouch on his belt.

Many country people right around Australia wear the same, either a knife or a multi-tool, not for self-defence but for the hundreds of daily chores they may be called on to do while remote on their properties.

As one farmer said on social media last night, strapping his Leatherman to his belt in the morning was as automatic as pulling on his boots. . .


Spitting Image

23/09/2021


Do vaccines work are they safe?

23/09/2021

Do Covid-19 vaccines work?

ABSTRACT

The global effort to vaccinate people against SARS-CoV-2 in the midst of an ongoing pandemic has raised questions about the nature of vaccine breakthrough infections and the potential for vaccinated individuals to transmit the virus. These questions have become even more urgent as new variants of concern with enhanced transmissibility, such as Delta, continue to emerge. To shed light on how vaccine breakthrough infections compare with infections in immunologically naive individuals, we examined viral dynamics and infectious virus shedding through daily longitudinal sampling in a small cohort of adults infected with SARS-CoV-2 at varying stages of vaccination. The durations of both infectious virus shedding and symptoms were significantly reduced in vaccinated individuals compared with unvaccinated individuals. We also observed that breakthrough infections are associated with strong tissue compartmentalization and are only detectable in saliva in some cases. These data indicate that vaccination shortens the duration of time of high transmission potential, minimizes symptom duration, and may restrict tissue dissemination.

The vaccines do not stop people getting COvid-19, but the vaccianted are less likely to contract the disease and if they do they are less likely to infect others and less likely to become seriously ill.

But are they safe?

Professor Graham Le Gros says they are:

“The way we eliminate this virus is vaccination,” Le Gros said. . . 

This vaccine is the safest vaccine I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Le Gros’ confidence in the vaccine comes from seeing the “rigerous” testing and monitoring it has undergone since being released, he said.

The vaccine is monitored both globally by health authorities who report on it. He says providers also do interior testing while also seeing if there are any effects for numerous demographics including the elderly and those with asthma.

“It drives a scientist like me nuts with how rigorous [testing the vaccine] is,” Le Gros said.

“It doesn’t just stop with looking at the data once, they are forever monitoring in what they call ‘phase four’ of the trial.” . . 

Why do so many people still question the efficacy and safety of the vaccines?

Despite the constant monitoring, Le Gros conceded there is misinformation spreading about the vaccine through numerous channels making it more difficult for New Zealand to hit its vaccination targets.

It’s an issue Dr Vanisi Prescott has been trying to tackle on social media with informative videos on platforms such as Tik Tok, but she told Breakfast it’s an uphill battle.

“It’s heartbreaking seeing our most vulnerable communities being effected by this misinformation,” Prescott said. “There’s so much misinformation out there and it’s difficult to decipher what information to actually listen to.

“The issue with social media is that it doesn’t differentiate truth from rumour and it’s become such an issue that it’s caused a lot of animosity and division as well as anxiety and fear among our people.”

Prescott said she understands people have their reasons if they choose not to get vaccinated but misinformation from social media shouldn’t be one of them.

“Social media masks the fact that there have been a vast majority of studies and medical opinion out there to confirm that this is a safe vaccine and good for all of us.

“Try not to rely on what we see out there but trust in sources or people you trust in like your GP.”

Prescott added she has extra motivation for informing those who are both vulnerable to the virus and misinformation.

“With me being a Tongan GP, I stand firmly in terms of my culture and my values and that is to respect, love and care for my patients – I wouldn’t be standing in front of everyone advocating for a vaccine if we didn’t know it was safe. . .

Charlie Mitchell’s three weeks down the misinformation rabbit hole of dangerous misinformation shows how easy it is to find misinformation and views that foster fears.

There’s lots to be said for not taking everything that comes from official sources as gospel, for questioning and challenging authorities and for doing your own research.

But that doesn’t mean thinking something you find by googling should carry more weight than the data and evidence resulting from scientific rigor by qualified people with experience in the field.


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