Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

Tag: Australia

Submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

My story starts in 1999 when I first self-reported about mental health concerns. To the best of my knowledge I am the only person to self-report from Operation Baritone (1997).`

On the 22nd March 1997 the online company from the 3rd Brigade including a detachment from the 103rd Signal Squadron of which I was a part, commenced deployment operations for an airlift to Port Moresby as part of a Company Group deployment.

It was the first part of a larger plan to ‘temporarily’ re-occupy Papua New Guinea during the Sandline Affair.

One of my limited memories from the pre-deployment was of the RMO making their notes on the back of the soldier in front of me, then the same for the next in line. Things were moving very quickly.

As part of our pre-deployment the company was given a number of medications including a mefloquine loading dose over three days to counteract malaria. After recent investigations I found that anti-malarials was not noted in my medical records. I have since been able to prove that I was given mefloquine via my Red Cross blood donation history.

Long story short, the Sandline Affair works itself out without Australian intervention and Company Group is given a leave pass to get on the drink. So close though. Another Fiji, 1987.

This should be my sad old war story that I bore my family, friends and ANZAC cronies with. Except I don’t do ANZAC Day and I don’t remember any of it until a series of ‘flash-backs’ in 2018/19 become so bad that they hospitalise me. Ironically, it is on the 22nd anniversary of Operation Baritone I was finally admitted to a mental health facility.

Mefloquine sent me insane. I have attempted suicide in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2014. When I finally worked out what the Army had done to me in early 2019 I was more relieved than angry. I could finally die with a little peace.

I battle on though. When enough memory had returned that I was able to prove the wider mefloquine exposure I tried to inform all the relevant authorities. Entities such as the Army HQ, the DVA were not interested in finding these men. The Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute and the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee were sympathetic but unhelpful.

So it is over to you. A Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

A company of soldiers were given mefloquine in 1997, a medication which was noted by the World Health Organisation as harmful in 1989 and is now hardly used by the Australian Defence Force.

Some from the Company Group will be dead from their mefloquine exposure. Some, like me, are permanently damaged. Many would not have experienced any symptoms and would wonder what all the fuss is about. It is a medication that many Armed Forces wish they had never used now.

The men of my Company Group assigned to the opening phases of Operation Baritone deserve to be told they were exposed to mefloquine.

For your review & consideration.

26. Mefloquine Dispatches: LBMC, 28th April 1997

I wake up. I’ve managed to snatch a few minutes or hours of blessed sleep. I haven’t slept in a couple of days. I’ve got a whole body rash. In and out of ice-baths and I cannot stop scratching. If that’s not bad enough I can’t sleep as well. Don’t know why. I blame the itching but I’m pretty wired. My hands are covered in scratches. What happened there?

I’m bored. I look around for some alcohol swabs to put on my cut-up hands. There’s none near my bed but the little box is in its place, it’s just happens to be empty. At the next bed, the same story, no swabs. I don’t want to pinch the other bloke in the wards stuff but I’m desperate. I peek over. His are gone too? Curious I go out for a walk to find the duty medic. I know her. We lived together in the same Barracks when I was posted to the BASC unit the previous year.

“Hey T*, you got any alcohol swabs?”

“Sure” she says. She comes over and checks my hands. “Ouch, I saw these when you came in”. She smiles. “Must have been a bit of a scrap?”

I just smile. It’s all a bit fuzzy.

“Anyway, I shouldn’t tell you… but you know that that bloke in the ward with you?”

“Yeah” I reply. I’m interested now. I’ve always loved gossip.

I lay my hands flat on the counter while T* gently cleans the fine wounds. It stings a little.

“Ok, the reason why you don’t have any alcohol swabs is that bloke has been chewing them all. We had to take all the alcohol swabs out of the ward. Must have a big drinking problem, do you think?”

I shrug “Makes sense, I suppose”.

Not really but we all see lots of silly shit in the Army. Medics see it more than most.

Random Analytica: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and cases of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) by Age Group as at 8 August 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has updated its latest safety report. Via the TGA. COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 12-08-2021. Summary:

  • To 8 August 2021, approximately 13.7 million vaccine doses have been given in Australia – 9.1 million first doses and 4.6 million second doses.
  • The TGA is continually monitoring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. The most frequently reported side effects suspected to be associated with the vaccines reflect what was seen in the clinical trials and include injection-site reactions such as a sore arm, and more general symptoms such as headache, muscle pain, fever and chills.
  • We are closely monitoring rare reports of blood clots with low blood platelets (also called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS) which have been found to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Early detection of this syndrome may help to prevent more serious complications developing and guidance for health professionals is now available(link is external).
  • In the last week, an additional 11 reports of blood clots and low blood platelets have been assessed as confirmed or probable TTS. Ten of these were in individuals aged 60 years or over. None of these cases were fatal.
  • The protective benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 far outweigh the potential risks of vaccination. Getting the AstraZeneca vaccine is a risk. Getting COVID-19 is demonstrably worse and can be fatal. If you can; get vaccinated. Some data points:

With approx. 7.4-million doses of AstraZeneca administered you are likely to have an adverse reaction in approx. every 71,100 doses (-2,000 from the previous week) and a fatal reaction in approx. every 1,057,000 doses (+87,000 from the previous week). For context Australia has had 37,754-cases and 947-deaths with a Case Fatality Rate of 2.51% (source: Worldometer).

Here are the stories of the seven deaths linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine to date:

1. 48-year old woman from NSW. Posted 16 April 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. NSW woman’s fatal blood clotting likely linked to AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, Therapeutic Goods Administration says.

2. A 52-year old woman from NSW. Posted 10 June 2021 via the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 10-06-2021.

3. A 61-year old woman from WA. Posted 8 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Death of 61-year-old WA woman last month likely linked to AstraZeneca vaccine.

4. A 72-year old woman from SA. Posted 12 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. South Australian woman dies from rare blood clots after receiving AstraZeneca vaccine.

5. A 48-year old woman from Victoria. Posted 22 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TGA links deaths of 44yo Tasmanian man and 48yo Victorian woman to AstraZeneca vaccine

6. A 44-year old man from Tasmania. Posted 22 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TGA links deaths of 44yo Tasmanian man and 48yo Victorian woman to AstraZeneca vaccine

7. A 34-year old woman from NSW. Posted 5 August 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. NSW woman, 34, becomes Australia’s seventh AstraZeneca-related death

Random Analytica: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and cases of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) by Age Group as at 1 August 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has updated its latest safety report. A new death was reported this week, that of a 34-year old woman from NSW. Via the TGA. COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 05-08-2021. Summary:

  • To 1 August 2021, approximately 12.4 million vaccine doses have been given in Australia – 8.4 million first doses and 4 million second doses.
  • The TGA is continually monitoring the safety of the COVID-10 vaccines. The most frequently reported side effects suspected to be associated with the vaccines reflect what was seen in the clinical trials and include injection-site reactions such as a sore arm, and more general symptoms such as headache, muscle pain, fever and chills.
  • We are closely monitoring rare reports of blood clots with low blood platelets (also called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia or TTS) following the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Three additional cases of blood clots with low blood platelets have been assessed as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. When assessed using the United Kingdom (UK) case definition, 2 were confirmed and one was deemed probable TTS. Sadly, a 34-year-old woman from NSW died yesterday from confirmed TTS following a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The TGA extends its sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones. We are in close communication with NSW health who are undertaking further investigation of this case.
  • The TGA is also closely monitoring reports of suspected immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) following the AstraZeneca vaccine and reports of myocarditis and pericarditis following the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine.

Getting the AstraZeneca vaccine is a risk. Getting COVID-19 is demonstrably worse and can be fatal. If you can; get vaccinated. Some data points:

With approx. 6.8-million doses administered you are likely to have an adverse reaction to AstraZeneca in approx. every 73,100 doses (+3,100 from the previous week) and a fatal reaction in approx. every 970,000 doses (-80,000 from the previous week). For context Australia has had 35,390-cases and 932-deaths with a Case Fatality Rate of 2.63% (source: Worldometer).

Here are the stories of the seven deaths linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine to date:

1. 48-year old woman from NSW. Posted 16 April 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. NSW woman’s fatal blood clotting likely linked to AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, Therapeutic Goods Administration says.

2. A 52-year old woman from NSW. Posted 10 June 2021 via the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 10-06-2021.

3. A 61-year old woman from WA. Posted 8 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Death of 61-year-old WA woman last month likely linked to AstraZeneca vaccine.

4. A 72-year old woman from SA. Posted 12 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. South Australian woman dies from rare blood clots after receiving AstraZeneca vaccine.

5. A 48-year old woman from Victoria. Posted 22 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TGA links deaths of 44yo Tasmanian man and 48yo Victorian woman to AstraZeneca vaccine

6. A 44-year old man from Tasmania. Posted 22 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TGA links deaths of 44yo Tasmanian man and 48yo Victorian woman to AstraZeneca vaccine

7. A 34-year old woman from NSW. Posted 5 August 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. NSW woman, 34, becomes Australia’s seventh AstraZeneca-related death

Random Analytica: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and cases of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) by Age Group as at 25 July 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has updated its latest safety report. No new deaths were reported. Via the TGA. COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 29-07-2021. Summary:

  • The most frequently reported suspected side effects associated with Comirnaty (Pfizer) and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines continue to be events that were seen in the clinical trials, and are commonly experienced with many vaccines.
  • Over the last week, 6 additional cases of blood clots with low blood platelets have been assessed as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. When assessed using the United Kingdom (UK) case definition, one was confirmed and 5 were deemed probable TTS.
  • An external Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG), convened by the TGA on 28 July 2021, concluded that three previously reported cases of probable TTS that occurred after a second AstraZeneca dose were unlikely to be related to the vaccine. They also considered a fatal case and concluded it was not related to vaccination.
  • This brings the total number of cases of TTS to 90 from approximately 6.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered to date.

Simplistically put and based on the above figures you are likely to have an adverse reaction to AstraZeneca in approx. every 70,000th dose (-100 from the previous week) and a fatal reaction in approx. every 1.050-million doses (+33,000 from the previous week). For context Australia has had 33,726 cases and 923-deaths with a Case Fatality Rate of 2.73% (source: Worldometer).

Here are the stories of the six deaths linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine to date:

1. 48-year old woman from NSW. Posted 16 April 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. NSW woman’s fatal blood clotting likely linked to AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, Therapeutic Goods Administration says.

2. A 52-year old woman from NSW. Posted 10 June 2021 via the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 10-06-2021.

3. A 61-year old woman from WA. Posted 8 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Death of 61-year-old WA woman last month likely linked to AstraZeneca vaccine.

4. A 72-year old woman from SA. Posted 12 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. South Australian woman dies from rare blood clots after receiving AstraZeneca vaccine.

5. A 48-year old woman from Victoria. Posted 22 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TGA links deaths of 44yo Tasmanian man and 48yo Victorian woman to AstraZeneca vaccine

6. A 44-year old man from Tasmania. Posted 22 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TGA links deaths of 44yo Tasmanian man and 48yo Victorian woman to AstraZeneca vaccine

Random Analytica: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and cases of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) by Age Group as at 18 July 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has updated its latest safety report with two new confirmed deaths announced. Via the TGA. COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 22-07-2021. Summary:

  • The most frequently reported suspected side effects associated with Comirnaty (Pfizer) and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines continue to be events that were seen in the clinical trials, and are commonly experienced with many vaccines.
  • Over the last week, four additional cases of blood clots with low blood platelets have been assessed as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. When assessed using the UK case definition, one was confirmed and three were deemed probable TTS. This brings the total number of cases of TTS to 87 from 6.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered to date.
  • Sadly two people with confirmed TTS following the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine died in the last week. One was a 44-year-old man from Tasmania and the other was a 48-year-old woman from Victoria.  We extend our sincere condolences to their families and loved ones.
  • In particular, we continue to closely monitor reports of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and myocarditis and pericarditis with the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine.

Simplistically put and based on the above figures you are likely to have an adverse reaction in approx. 70,100 doses (+5,100 from the previous week) and a fatal reaction in approx. 1.017-million doses (-333,000 from the previous week).

To date there have been six deaths linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Details:

1. 48-year old woman from NSW. Posted 16 April 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. NSW woman’s fatal blood clotting likely linked to AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, Therapeutic Goods Administration says.

2. A 52-year old woman from NSW. Posted 10 June 2021 via the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 10-06-2021.

3. A 61-year old woman from WA. Posted 8 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Death of 61-year-old WA woman last month likely linked to AstraZeneca vaccine.

4. A 72-year old woman from SA. Posted 12 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. South Australian woman dies from rare blood clots after receiving AstraZeneca vaccine.

5. A 48-year old woman from Victoria. Posted 22 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TGA links deaths of 44yo Tasmanian man and 48yo Victorian woman to AstraZeneca vaccine

6. A 44-year old man from Tasmania. Posted 22 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. TGA links deaths of 44yo Tasmanian man and 48yo Victorian woman to AstraZeneca vaccine

Random Analytica: Australian Parliament Suspensions by the Speaker 1996 – 2021

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, announced his retirement from politics at the next election. He brought a more professional and dignified presence to the roll and returned the Speakers gravitas after the outrageous tenures of Bronwyn Bishop and Peter Slipper.

You might not have realised it but Tony Smith has quietly slipped to be the Speaker with the most suspensions, now at 732 to the Winter Break 2021 after 349-days in office. To give that some context it took Bronwyn Bishops only 130-days to rack up 400-suspensions including multiple ‘naming’ or 94(b) suspensions which meant a 24-hour parliamentary absence.

Random Analytica: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and cases of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) by Age Group as at 11 July 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has updated its latest safety report with one new confirmed death announced. Via the TGA. COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 15-07-2021. Summary:

  • The most frequently reported suspected side effects associated with Comirnaty (Pfizer) and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines continue to be events that were seen in the clinical trials, and are commonly experienced with vaccines generally.
  • As reported by South Australian Health authorities on 12 July 2021, sadly a 72-year-old woman from South Australia has died from TTS following vaccination with a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This case was confirmed to be linked to the vaccine and was reported in last weeks’ report.
  • Seven additional cases of blood clots with low blood platelets have been assessed as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. When assessed using the United Kingdom (UK) case definition, four were confirmed and three were deemed probable TTS. This brings the total number of cases of TTS to 83 from 5.4 million doses administered to date.
  • We continue to closely monitor reports of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine and myocarditis and pericarditis with the Comirnaty vaccine.

Simplistically put and based on the above figures you are likely to have an adverse reaction in every approx. 65,000 doses (no change) and a fatal reaction in approx. every 1.350-million doses (down from 1.6-million).

To date there have been four deaths linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. They include:

1. 48-year old woman from NSW. Posted 16 April 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. NSW woman’s fatal blood clotting likely linked to AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, Therapeutic Goods Administration says.

2. A 52-year old woman from NSW. Posted 10 June 2021 via the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 10-06-2021.

3. A 61-year old woman from WA. Posted 8 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Death of 61-year-old WA woman last month likely linked to AstraZeneca vaccine.

4. A 72-year old woman from SA. Posted 12 July 2021 via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. South Australian woman dies from rare blood clots after receiving AstraZeneca vaccine.

Random Analytica: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and cases of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) by Age Group as at 4 July 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has updated its latest safety report with one new confirmed death announced. Via the TGA. COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 08-07-2021. Summary:

  • The most frequently reported suspected side effects (link is external) associated with Comirnaty (Pfizer) and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines continue to be events that were seen in the clinical trials, and are commonly experienced with vaccines generally.
  • An external Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG), convened by the TGA on 2 July 2021, concluded that a very rare but fatal case of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in a 61-year-old woman who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine was likely to be related to immunisation.
  • Seven additional cases of blood clots with low blood platelets have been assessed as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. When assessed using the United Kingdom (UK) case definition, three were confirmed TTS and four were deemed probable TTS. This brings the total number of cases of TTS to 76 out of five million doses to date.

Simplistically put and based on the above figures you are likely to have an adverse reaction in every approx. 65,000 doses and a fatal reaction in approx. every 1.6-million doses.

To date there have been three deaths linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The latest reported fatality via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Death of 61-year-old WA woman last month likely linked to AstraZeneca vaccine. Excerpt:

Health authorities have concluded the death of a 61-year-old woman in hospital last month was likely linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The West Australian woman received the vaccine in early June and was admitted to Royal Perth Hospital later that month, where she died of a blood disorder.

The federal government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) investigated the woman’s death, with an external vaccine safety investigation group of experts deeming the vaccination the likely cause. It based that conclusion on a strong lack of evidence for other causes and the timeframe within which she died after taking the vaccine.

Random Analytica: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and cases of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) by Age Group as at 27 June 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has updated its latest safety report with no new confirmed deaths reported. Via the TGA. COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 01-07-2021. Summary:

  • The most frequently reported suspected side effects associated with Comirnaty (Pfizer) and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines continue to be events that were seen in the clinical trials, and are commonly experienced with vaccines generally.
  • Five additional cases of blood clots with low blood platelets have been assessed as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. When assessed using the United Kingdom (UK) case definition, two were confirmed and three were deemed probable TTS. This brings the total number of cases of TTS to 69.

To date there have been approximately 4.6-million doses of AstraZeneca administered to 30 June (h/t CovidBaseAU) and two confirmed TTS deaths linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It’s also worth noting that younger people are volunteering to get the AstraZeneca jab after the Prime Minister’s surprise announcement earlier this week. We should see that data flow through to next weeks report.