Enabling the Travel Bug

I renewed my passport just recently. Yes I know, why bother with doing that when it’s not likely I’ll be heading off anywhere overseas in the near future. I could have saved the money and let the “renew by” date come and go. Except that, should the need arise for me to hop on a plane to somewhere outside of Australia in the next year or so, I’d have to go through the whole rigmarole of getting a new one all over agin, as opposed to just doing a renewal.

So where am I planning to go? Well, nowhere at the moment, but down the track I would love to head back to Europe, especially to France. I loved France. But my new passport is good for the next ten years (because if you’re under the age of 74 in this country, you can only get a ten year one) and I expect that somewhere in the future decade it will be safe to travel again because there will be a good, all-round safe vaccine against COVID by then, and those of us with any sense will get the shots.  And of course, once we get the all-clear, I trust I will be able to grab my passport and go.

But it seems many in the same passport boat decided to jump ship when theirs came up for renewal.  Figures for passport renewals have dropped dramatically as people have decided that if they can’t travel, where is the point of paying out to renew it? Okay, I’ll admit they have a point there, and who knows, perhaps travel will be no safer in the next five to ten years than it is now, but I  think it will be. While there is a vaccine available now, it has had some glitches, so I expect work on the development of an even better version  will continue and when they hit the jackpot with the ultimate COVID vaccine, it will be made available worldwide, thus making it safe for us to globe trot again.

So I am not sorry I renewed my passport. Besides, my photo in this one is so much nicer than the last.  I look good!

Meanwhile, I have pacified my personal travel bug with a few trips beyond my local region and it felt good. There was the trip inland to spend some days with Daughter, Son-in-law and the grandkids (and all their pets) and we had a wonderful catch-up. Not quite overseas, but I did cross from NSW into Canberra so it was sort of interstate. Then there was the trip up the mountains to get new tyres on my car. I could have had them done locally but The Bloke very generously offered to cover the cost and it meant we could catch up for lunch and coffee.  It took about two and a half hours to drive up there, so that was sort of like a long distance trip too. Sort of.

Thing is, a few months ago I would not have done either trip because things were still a bit too iffy and while I knew I was not sick,  the kids and grandkids (and all their pets) were not sick and neither was The Bloke, it just seemed like the wrong thing to do at the time. Travel was still on hold to a degree and I wanted to do the right thing.  But now it’s okay to extend our boundaries for the moment and I am so hoping the trend continues. And I’m sure that’s possible, just so long as we are all responsible with our new-found semi-freedom.  I felt an exhilarating sense of semi-freedom as I headed up the highway! It was great and I truly believe travel much further afield will be possible in the near future and when it is, I’ll be ready. With my nice renewed passport, with the much nicer photo of me.

Seriously, I look good.



Misinformation: It’s a Minefield.

What is it with some people and  their desire to spread misinformation, based purely on their own suppositions, but lacking in any real facts? And why do many of them, who have no specific qualifications,  present themselves as “knowledgeable”, especially on anything to do with health and medicine? Sure, they have their opinions  (everyone has those) but opinions aren’t necessarily facts,  so when people start spreading the wrong information about things they have no real knowledge about, it’s a problem.

The latest Instagrammer to throw her hat into the ring is Chloe Lattanzi, famous for…well. for being the offspring of famous parents (Olivia Newton-John and Matt Lattanzi).  Apparently, Chloe is also an actor and singer, but I’m yet to see her name in the credits of anything I’ve ever watched or to hear anything she has recorded, but that’s not to say she doesn’t do these things. Her father’s an actor and her mother’s a singer so I guess it stands to reason she would have had a go at both. Many offspring of famous parents have a shot at breaking into their parents’ fields, and some of them even manage to pull it off. Perhaps Chloe did as well.

But anyway, Chloe has made some media waves recently with an Instagram post revealing some anti-leanings on vaccines, masks and lockdowns.  Okay,  she is entitled to her views but why can’t she, and those of her ilk, keep those based-on-misinformation opinions to themselves?  If they choose not to believe the science, fine, but please, don’t try to justify it with outpourings which have absolutely no basis in fact!

Chloe believes that “real medicine” comes from the earth, predominantly from herbs and plants and, while she is not wrong there (many plants have wonderful medicinal qualities and can be very successful in treating a number of health issues) there are some instances that require medical intervention and one of those instances is controlling some very nasty diseases via vaccination..

But Chloe believes vaccines are toxic, claiming they contain mercury and pesticides, but in the next breath claims she is not an anti-vaxxer.  Really? But she so sounds like one! But let’s looks at that mercury claim…

From the 1930s through to 2000, the mercury-based preservative, Thiomersal (also known as Thimerosal) was used in vaccines in very small amounts (well below toxic levels) to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination, particularly in multi-dose vials where withdrawing repeated doses from the same vial was more likely to result in contamination.  However, none of the vaccines on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) currently supplied in Australia contain it.  Multi-dose vaccine vials are no longer in use anyway, for routine immunisation, and Thiomersal was removed in 2000, prompted by the possibility of harm stemming from ethyl mercury, which is a metabolite of Thiomersal.

But Thiomersal was only ever used in very small amounts. Keep that in mind. If you are reading this, then it did not kill you.

Aluminium is another element getting a lousy run over it’s use in vaccines but here’s the thing; aluminium is the most abundant element on the planet, after oxygen and silicon, and is the most abundant metal present in the earth’s crust.  It is also present naturally in air, in water,  most plant life and in soil. It’s use in vaccines is as an adjuvant, which is a component that boosts the immune response to the vaccine. However, you should also note (and this is the biggie) that vaccines containing adjuvants are tested extensively in clinical trials before being licensed.

So, does Chloe know all this? Well, she does run a medical marijuana farm in the US, but I’m not sure that qualifies her to make such scathing remarks about vaccinations. Nor about masks and lockdowns come to think of it.  Chloe is certainly free to think these things if she wishes and to even believe them (because I don’t think she has done the right research) but  she should leave it there, because without the right kind of medical know-how to post knowledgeably, she would be better off not posting at all.

Sounds like a plan.