25 May 2021 | Tuesday | Opinion
Good morning, Linda.
Good morning, Michael.
How are you?
I am well.
Today I would like to say thank you to everybody involved in Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout. To the general practitioners of Australia, to the many nurses, to everybody involved in helping to protect our country through administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Last week, we had a record number of vaccines administered to Australians, over half a million doses delivered by trusted health care professionals in 5,000 locations right across our country.
First question, why can't I decide which vaccine I get?
The decisions about who gets the vaccines has been made by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI), based on decisions about protecting the people who are at most risk first. That is why we started with the initial phases of rolling out the vaccine to people in residential aged care facilities, in disability care facilities, healthcare workforce, frontline healthcare workers, and now to people with serious conditions that put them at risk of COVID-19, and people by age.
At the moment, ATAGI’s recommendation is that people under 50 should receive the Pfizer vaccine, and for people aged 50 years and over, the AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended.
Second question, what do I do if I am eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but my GP practice does not offer it?
Over 4,500 general practices right across Australia are involved with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines at the moment. AstraZeneca vaccine is being rolled out through general practices. If your general practice is not involved in the vaccine rollout, or if you are aged under 50 years of age and you’re now eligible to receive a vaccine you fall into one of the priority groups, you can go to the Vaccine Eligibility Checker on health.gov.au and put in your details and it will show you where the vaccine is currently available and how you can make an appointment to get the vaccine.
And finally, I am still feeling nervous about the possibility of a blood clot. What is the latest information I need to know about this?
Firstly, it’s normal to be feeling nervous and anxious. In the last year we have all seen our lives disrupted as a result of the pandemic. People read news reports and are concerned by what they read. My advice to you is, if you have concerns, please talk to your GP, please talk to your trusted healthcare adviser, and make a decision about the vaccine.
Of course, it is up to you as to whether you receive the vaccine or not, but what we know is that these vaccines save lives. If you are vaccinated and you become exposed to COVID-19, you are protected against developing serious illness, or dying as a consequence of COVID-19. And what we also know is that the pandemic is still with us. Over the last few weeks we have seen COVID-19 outbreaks occurring in countries which previously had been protected from COVID-19, as Australia has in the past. So, please, when it is your turn to receive the vaccine, talk to your trusted healthcare advisor, get some advice about receiving the vaccine.