‘Shouldn’t be up to poor uni students to provide masks’: shortage causes concern


Canberrans have taken it upon themselves to shore up the supply of face masks with thousands being brought in from interstate.

After weeks of deteriorating air quality, there have been widespread shortages of P2 masks in the ACT with hardware stores selling out quickly.

Vanamali Hermans was on holiday in Brisbane and is bringing back 600 smoke masks to Canberra today.

“I have quite severe asthma and I know how concerned people are and I know how scary it is to know you can’t breath,” she said.

After putting a call out on social media, she realised thousands of masks were required.

“It was really apparent there’s very little way for people to access masks,” Ms Hermans said.

A fundraiser has been started to cover the cost of masks to be distributed. Jetstar waived the extra baggage charges.

The P2 masks are considered to be among the most effective masks to filter out smoke particles.

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ACT Health’s latest advice is that they are not recommended for the general community – only the vulnerable – and their effectiveness is limited.

While research has shown the P2 masks to be effective, ACT Health says they must be fitted perfectly and not affected by moisture to work.

Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry said the government was working on shoring up supply of the masks for the vulnerable.

Ms Hermans said she was concerned about the government’s current health advice to stay inside and avoid the smoke.

She said the homeless and lower income Canberrans were being disproportionately affected and many homes provided little refuge from the smoke.

“It shouldn’t be up to a couple of poor uni students to try to get masks for hundreds of thousands of people,” she said.

The ANU Student Association will also distribute smoke masks from 2.30pm today for $3 each on a first come, first served basis.

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Content retrieved from: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6565066/shouldnt-be-up-to-poor-uni-students-to-provide-masks-shortage-causes-concern/.

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