Down the Vaccination Rabbit Hole

By George Swan @swangeorge

Watching the nightly news and seeing new cases of COVID-19 reach higher levels day after day, I started to feel anxious about contracting this new delta variant outbreak that’s gripped the whole state of New South Wales.

Fear wasn’t my only motivation, I didn’t want to be the one to pass on the virus to family members, especially my 71-year-old mother. I started my enquiries about getting the jab from my family doctor, who advised me that they are not providing the COVID immunisation service.

Turning to the internet and I found the Vaccine Eligibility Checker which asks a series of questions to determine if I am eligible and then directs me to providers in the local area to make a booking to get the jab. After answering all the questions, the Vaccine Eligibility Checker gave me the results below, showing I am eligible and a link to make a booking.

On clicking Make a Booking a search is initiated which can be further refined by suburb showing a list of providers. Unfortunately, only the phone numbers are provided, and you need to call and make a booking. After calling a local provider, I was informed that I will need a medical summary from my family doctor. 

So, I called my family doctor and he advised me to use a different provider, NSW Health, and gave me the link  to book online and recommended the Pfizer. Following my doctor’s recommendation, I booked my first dose. I was also told that since I’m not going to be taking the AstraZeneca vaccine I won’t be needing a medical summary. 

The next day, I informed my family doctor of the dates for my Pfizer vaccine and he advised me to use a website to get an earlier date. This was a big mistake as I cancelled my October vaccine appointments before securing an earlier date using this service. I used this covid queue website for four days without securing an earlier date.

Out of frustration, and going against my family doctor’s advice, I decided to do some research into AstraZeneca. I learned that AstraZeneca is easier to obtain than Pfizer but that it has a negative connotation in the public as well as my local family medical practice.

So, the real question was do I take the risk and get AstraZeneca now and get some protection against COVID or risk contracting the virus while waiting for Pfizer. 

Get the jab. Photo: Sanofi Pasteur/flickr/CC

I needed to learn the risks with AstraZeneca, so I typed “how many people have died from AstraZeneca” into Google and the first result which came back was from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Two more deaths linked to AstraZeneca vaccine as of 22 July 2021: “There have been six Australian deaths related to AstraZeneca vaccine, out of more than 6.1 million administered doses.”

So six people (God bless them) have died from approximately six million doses administered. The risk of death is approximately one chance out of a million doses.

At this low chance of death by AstraZeneca, I decided to make a booking at a local medical practice and secured my first dose. 

On the day of the jab, I was a bit nervous and attending the appointment at a local medical practice, the doctor informed me of the risks and potential side effects and after giving him my approval, he gave me the AstraZeneca jab. 

It’s been more than two weeks now since my first dose and I haven’t experienced any side effects, no pain or discomfort, nothing different. I’ve now got some level of protection against COVID19 and hopefully reduce the chance of spreading it to my family and the community if I were to catch this virus.

Featured image: The War on COVID-19. Photo: Army Medicine/flickr/CC

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