Well, folks, the day has finally arrived. The SARS-COV2 COVID19 vaccination rollout has begun. So, when your turn comes, get your vacc on.
You might know that Australia’s COVID19 vaccination plan includes two different vaccines. The mRNA Pfizer vaccine arrived first and was offered to very high-risk groups including frontline workers.
(Who knew that also included our PM!!).
Now the adenovirus AZ vaccine is also on offer, starting with the 1b group. That includes people over 70 and those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV and heart disease. If you’re not sure which group you’re in it’s easy to work it out at the government online checker https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility
There are a few things you need to know about this vaccine. The first thing is that it has an excellent safety profile. It has been given over 17 million times in Europe, a number big enough for any safety concerns to become evident. In the first few months of its roll-out, there was no sign of problems.
*The government now recommends the Pfizer vaccination for people under 50. It says people who previously had their first shot of the AZ vaccine should go ahead with their second dose unless they experienced a bad reaction to the first shot. Only one Australian so far developed blood clots following their vaccination. The government also announced today it had secured a further 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Blood Clots and Hormone Therapy
There is now concern about an issue with blood clots – there appears to be the emergence of a rare type of blood clot in younger people who have the AZ vaccine. The actual numbers are very low, and barely more than what we would normally see in the general population. The cause of these clots remains under investigation but looks like a problem with platelets in the blood. People who are on hormone therapy may have pricked their ears up at this news, as they are already aware of the increased risk of blood clots with oestrogen.
The clot risk with oral oestrogen however is not to do with platelets, but with clotting factors, and therefore it is unlikely that there would be any additive risk from the 2 together. In other words it is safe to have this vaccine if you are on hormone therapy.
There have also been reports that people with bad allergies shouldn’t have the vaccine. This is also baloney. People with a history of anaphylaxis (a severe life-threatening allergic reaction with throat swelling and difficulty breathing) need close monitoring after vaccination. If you have this history, your doctor may prefer that you receive the vaccine in a hospital setting. A history of hay fever does not count and you can go ahead with your vaccination as normal.
What can you expect after you have the AZ vaccine? It’s quite normal to feel somewhat shabby in the 24 hours after receiving this shot – you may get a fever, a sore arm, headaches, tiredness and general flu-like symptoms. Some people feel quite unwell. It generally settles after a day or so.
The AZ vaccine requires a second shot 12 weeks after the first one. Research indicates that reduces the risk of severe illness from COVID19 by 100%.
Get your vacc on!
We all want our world to return to normal, and to be able to travel again. Widespread COVID19 vaccination provides the way forward for this to happen. We can only open borders with a vaccinated population. Countries overseas are starting to let people in again, but only if they can prove they have been vaccinated. It’s likely that there will be an updated COVID vaccine every year from now on, and it will become as normal a part of life as an annual flu shot.
So go ahead and get your vacc on!
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