The ‘singles bubble’ was introduced in NSW in late July to help individuals, who might otherwise be isolated, to have some companionship during lockdown. However, this arrangement was only accessible to adults over the age of 18. Now, the NSW government is launching a new initiative to help young people reconnect with their mates until lockdown settings ease enough to allow schools to reopen.
This scheme will work quite differently to the singles bubble. Every child and young person aged 17 or under will be allowed to nominate two friends to form a social bubble of three, who can visit one another at each other's homes. Each member of that bubble can nominate their own bubble buddies, meaning that each young person can form a unique social bubble without having to unanimously align with the other buddies in that bubble. Crucially, only young people in households where all the adults over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated will be allowed to form bubbles.
Health minister Brad Hazzard suggested that making the friends bubble dependent on vaccination status could encourage young people to “pester” their parents or other adults in their household to get vaccinated. “I’ve got to say I think the fact that both adult families from which the young people will come have to be double vaccinated will act as a further incentive for us all to make sure everybody gets double vaccinated. It’s just the reality. If you’ve ever been a parent you know that what your kids want, they’ll pester till they get it. I was pestered many times. I’m sure if I were still at that stage, I’d be pestered if I weren’t vaccinated and that’s a good thing,” Hazzard said.