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I’m pro-vaccination yet, like a lot of the Australian population, found myself hesitant to book in for my COVID-19 vaccination. I finally made an appointment but only after I sat myself down for a serious talk.
Given how bad things are in other parts of the world, I’m embarrassed to say the main reason behind my hesitancy was that COVID-19 simply hadn’t been front of mind. Life had been ticking along, with barely a pandemic-related thought. Hasn’t Melbourne shown us how quickly that can change? Even before this new lockdown, I had wanted to be on the front foot if – when – another outbreak happened. With only lukewarm encouragement from official sources, I knew I needed to be the one to harness this plan.
Hundreds of people wait to receive their COVID-19 vaccination at Homebush on Saturday.Credit:Cole Bennetts
I was surprised how much my anger at the incompetence of the rollout was contributing to my hesitancy. But after letting this emotion dissipate, I countered with the knowledge that getting the jab would protect vulnerable people by contributing to herd immunity.
It’s hard not to be influenced by the AstraZeneca v Pfizer debates around efficacy and side-effects. At age 51, I’m only just one side of the somewhat arbitrary cut-off age for Pfizer as the preferred jab. This is the first time I’ve felt “old” when it comes to government policy and, sadly, I suspect it won’t be the last. I used statistics to rationalise away concerns about blood clots but, as a freelancer with no sick leave, it’s harder to set aside worry about a few days of the much more common flu-like side effects.
My main incentive to get the jab was a societal one. I know how much vaccination has improved our lives. My uncle had polio and I’m aware of horrific morbidity rates from now-eradicated diseases.
The final shove that made me pick up the phone was a selfish one. Wouldn’t I kick myself if I was denied an opportunity later this year because I hadn’t got my vaccinations? With 12 weeks between shots, I’m looking at August before I’m fully immunised. Who knows what magazine might need a writer to trial a luxury travel-bubble retreat around then?
So, I booked my appointment. Initially, I scheduled my jab for two weeks’ time, when I could accommodate taking a few days off if needed. But the new cases in Victoria made me rethink my priorities and I picked up the phone again. I can now say I have put one small foot forward in the global quest to eradicate COVID-19.
Vivienne Pearson is a freelance writer.
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