10 questions with infectious diseases expert Paul Griffin

What’s your favourite summer/Christmas tradition?
We really went all out with the Christmas decorations. We’ve got huge inflatables at the front of our house now. I got a six-metre Santa this year that hopefully you can see from space.

If you could share a lunch with anyone over the holidays, who would it be?
It’s probably a bit cliche … but the Oxford Group. Those teams that developed those vaccines, to see what this has meant to them, to see the impact they’ve had, if they ever anticipated the impact they could have on the world when they started doing this sort of work. It’s fascinating.

Favourite holiday movie or book?
It’s certainly changed since having kids. I think my favourite Christmas movie pre-kids would have been Die Hard, but not really one to sit down with the kids and enjoy. So, I think Home Alone probably resonates with us because we can see so many parallels with our family and things that might happen.

How did you stay resilient this year?
I think it’s about balance, and you know, for a big part of the year I didn’t have that balance right – working really long hours and not paying attention to looking after myself. But enjoying sport, exercise, time with family and some quiet time as well. I think it’s important to make sure that no matter how chaotic things get and how busy we get, that we do continue some kind of balance.

What was the biggest change you experienced in 2021?
Gosh. I think it’s still been our change in expectations around having this virus circulate in our community. In many ways the easier part was just those harsh restrictions to keep the virus out. So, our expectations were that we were COVID-free. I think that the hardest thing has been making people come to terms with the fact that we’re not going to be COVID-free for a very long time from now on. That change in mindset that we’ve had to prepare for, and now implement, has been one of the biggest challenges and I don’t think we’re there yet – we’ve still got some work to do on that front.

What do you think 2022 will bring – any predictions for next year?

I think we’ll get a bit of balance back in terms of mitigation strategy and freedoms. We will obviously see a big change in the virus and what it does in our community. But we will be able to restore some balance. That’s going to take a big shift in our thinking, but that’s what I think next year will hold. I’m really looking forward to getting back to doing some things that, even though they might be possible at the moment, there’s so much apprehension around them, like travelling interstate. I look forward to going to some of the Lions games in the other states and watching them have a successful season, and maybe even considering international travel.

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