Go get vaccinated (if you can)

In our last exciting chapter, back in March, COVID-19 had settled down in Victoria, and largely disappeared. Life pretty much returned back to normal except overseas travel was near-impossible, and you had to wear a mask on PT.

It couldn’t last. Another outbreak is now upon us in Melbourne.

My view: no matter where you are in Australia, enough dilly-dallying – it’s time to get vaccinated.

I would love to believe that Pfizer doses will be plentiful in a few months as the Feds are claiming, but frankly their delivery of vaccines has been consistently underwhelming.

For the over 50s, there seems to be plenty of Astra Zenica out there. There is a small (but not zero) risk. But authorities have now got a much better understanding of how to recognise and treat the side effects if they occur.

I just got my first dose of AZ today. I would have done it earlier, but when I tried to book a few weeks ago when it first opened for people in their 50s, they didn’t have any locally. At the time, the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak returning seemed remote, so I foolishly went and did my flu shot instead.

That was a mistake, because you have to wait a fortnight after that before a COVID shot – and as we now know, there has indeed been another outbreak, with a 7-day lockdown commencing on Thursday night.

At present you can’t book for the State mass vaccination centres online – you have to ring up, which can be time-consuming. But over-50s (and others in groups 1a, 1b, 2a) can book via the Federal government web site for a local GP clinic.

This turned out to work well. I found a local one (not my regular) which had an available booking. And kudos to them – on the day it was very smooth, with staff checking people in and getting you vaccinated and into the post-jab waiting very quickly. No lollipop, but overall a quick and easy experience, and despite the Feds’ repeatedly saying “it’s not a race”, this local practice was obviously set up to churn through people as quickly (and safely) as possible. Good stuff.

Given the outbreak, you probably don’t need any encouragement now, but I’d suggest if like me you’re eligible for a shot now and have no pre-existing conditions, go for it. If you do have pre-existing conditions, especially if you’re only eligible for AZ, talk to your GP first.

This does not constitute medical advice. Make up your own damn mind.

  • Victoria: Vaccination info. Right now under 50s and those wanting to use the State mass vaccination hubs need to ring to book. If you’re 50 and over and are happy to use a local GP clinic, you can book online – this is what I used. The local clinic made it quick and easy.
  • Meanwhile, if you want a little light relief:

Update 30/5/2021: Added a little more detail above about the experience of booking and getting my vaccination. A day later, the only noticeable thing is some soreness where the needle went in.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Go get vaccinated (if you can)”

Thanks for the post Daniel. Our story parallels yours almost exactly. No urgency, did flu shots first, then tried to find the best place to get Covid jab….not so simple, but eventually got it at our local GP clinic. All good. I still don’t understand why the pharmacy network couldn’t take it on. My local chemist, who gave me the flu shot, couldn’t understand it either. A widely distributed network throughout Australia, already well set up for vaccinations, would seem to be an obvious solution, especially now that demand is going to skyrocket (hopefully).

Good advice, Daniel. Well done.
I also had to be cognisant of the timing of my flu shot (and blood bank appointment) when getting the covid jab. I need to get my second covid vax in August.

Soreness in the arm seems pretty similar to my experience with the within a few days of the flu jab. I really hope they’ll open up the covid-19 vaccination to other age groups soon.

I wasn’t in a hurry, but was interested in getting it done. Then out of the blue a Medical Centre I hadn’t been to for years sent me a text message that COVID vaccines were available, gave them a call and it took 20 min, in and out. Second dose of AZ in August. I think we may get better results if the government just let people know it’s their turn and where to go, just like kids vaccinations?

After several days and about 10 calls we finally got booked in for our Pfizer shot in Ringwood this coming Friday. Vaccination is the only we will every get close enough to a real Covid Normal life.

I hope you all realise that getting vaccinated will not prevent lockdowns and will not prevent cases. Aside from that, rushing to get jabbed without knowing potential long-term impacts of the vaccine, which arguably could be worse than coronavirus itself is a little concerning. I thought left wing folk were intelligent?

Of course it’s less than ideal that the vaccines have been introduced in a rush, but there is immense scrutiny of their effects, and as for “will not prevent cases” – well that’s at odds with the scientific consensus. AZ and Pfizer are not 100% perfect, but they do lessen symptoms, and do reduce cases and transmission.

Enough to prevent lockdowns? That depends how many people are vaccinated.

I would like to get the jab, and will when things settle down. I am not in a hurry to get it done, and,will put it off for many reasons.

The only two places I can really go, are Sandwon Park, and the Cranbourne turf club, both of which are also covid testing stations too. I am in the 40 to 49 group, which means, for some reason, I am only permitted to get the Pfizer, I am not permitted to get the AZ one, therefore my local doctor, who can only do the AZ one, is not able to give me the job there.

I feel both those sites are so overwhelmed with covid testing as it is, I am better waiting until the current outbreak dies down. Also, would there be an inherent increase risk in getting the virus, from somebody going in to be tested?

In the meantime, those nazal sprays are said to be effective, and, I have bottles of that which will last quite some while.

Given what I notice, there are vast amounts of people getting the jab, at a rate of which are stretching the jab-venue capacity somewhat, it is happening at the fastest possible rate for it to happen.

I find it quite amusing when people freak out about the blood clots with AZ, and when governments (inc Australia) suspends the distribution. Yeah right, if the Australian government finds the AZ nontroversey bad enough to act, then they should be giving greater funding to road safety and public transport access to combat the much higher death and injury rates on roads across the nation. Or they should be giving more funding for mental health when suicides rates are also higher than blood clot death rates.

Not to mention, those blood clots could be from anything ranging from eating too much junk food to being a couch/driver’s seat potato, so the actual death rate from AZ-related blood clots are probably even lower.

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