Why I’ll Be Happy to Have My Covid-19 Vaccine
I received the text message on my phone yesterday. It’s my turn to have the Covid-19 vaccine. I did a little happy dance as I have been eagerly waiting for this. Because I’m a nurse I am in stage 1b of the Covid rollout.
Although Australia hasn’t had high numbers of cases, and Queensland has escaped the worst of the restrictions and lockdowns, I have been extremely worried about catching Covid-19. I have several comorbidities and am already dealing with enough health issues as it is.
I’ve become a bit of a hermit in the last year, social distancing to the extreme. My trips to the grocery store, chemist and for medical appointments are my only outings, apart from visiting close friends and family. The opportunity to be vaccinated means I can return to life as I knew it pre-pandemic. My elderly unwell parents-in-law can too.
Worldwide Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Not everyone will agree with me. A number of people are concerned about the vaccine despite the education campaigns. Being a new vaccine for a new disease, we don’t have all the answers yet. There is so much we don’t know about the long-term effects of Covid-19, and why some people have virtually no symptoms and some people become very sick or die.
A pandemic has never taken a toll on the worldwide population as this one has. The numbers are staggering and the toll on life as we know it is unprecedented. In over 30 years of nursing I’ve never seen anything like it.
This is Not the First New Vaccine for a Vaccine Preventable Disease
I have nursed people extremely unwell from vaccine preventable deaths. We have occasional outbreaks of measles, pertussis (whooping cough) and other diseases. Shingles caused by the varicella virus continues to make life miserable for elderly people.
Vaccines have drastically reduced the death and morbidity toll of many diseases worldwide. Numbers of almost fully vaccinated children are very high in Australia, because we have funding for most of them via the National Immunisation Program.
Even in my children’s time there have been advances in the development of vaccines. Rotavirus had my son hospitalised at 8 months. Babies are vaccinated against it now. Likewise HPV – a virus that leads to cervical cancer. Hopefully my kids’ generation won’t have to go through that.
Vaccines have almost completely eradicated some diseases. I have only nursed two patients with tetanus in my career. Both were extremely ill, requiring intensive care. They call it “lockjaw” for a reason – it causes severe muscular spasms and can lead to death. Complacency with being vaccinated has led to increasing rates of diseases such as measles. This may be due to people not witnessing the diseases and believing that they have no chance of contracting them.
My Training as a Nurse Immuniser
I am currently doing an Immunisation Practitioner course. As a Registered Nurse I have been able to give vaccines my whole career. This course will allow me to administer vaccines independently in clinics or other healthcare settings.
The course is extensive and very thorough. Most of it requires a 100% pass mark. Following this I will need to do a separate course for the Covid vaccine which is just as comprehensive. Be reassured: the staff administering the vaccine will be well trained.
There was an unfortunate incident where a doctor administered four times the dose to residents of a nursing home. If he had actually done the training he would have known that the vaccine comes in a multi-dose vial and needs to be diluted. Swift action by a nurse brought it to the attention of health authorities. The patients were monitored in hospital and they suffered nil ill effects.
Ensuring the Vaccine Is Safe and Effective
The vaccine has been through clinical trials to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (similar to the FDA in the US). Any side effects experienced by vaccine recipients will be reported to the TGA. The effectiveness of the vaccine will be closely monitored as well to ensure that it is not only safe, but has led to immunity from Covid-19.
Despite this, there will still be people concerned about getting the vaccine, and some will straight out refuse. My suggestion would be to talk to your GP especially if you have health issues or have had reactions to other vaccines, medications or substances.
Side Effects of Vaccines
Any vaccine (or medication) will have side effects. The side effects are usually mild in most cases but there is always the potential for an anaphylactic reaction.
A healthcare worker unfortunately had an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine yesterday. She had a history of anaphylaxis after vaccines so she had this vaccine in the safest environment possible – in a tertiary hospital with the facilities to monitor and treat her. She was almost certainly given adrenaline and monitored for four hours afterward, which is the standard procedure. By last night she was back home.
All immunisation services need to carry adrenaline and have protocols around monitoring people following vaccination. There are strict requirements for the storage of vaccines, and this ensures the vaccine is not only safe, but is effective as well.
Do Your Research
Do your research, using trusted sources before you have the vaccine. The Covid-19 vaccine is not compulsory in Australia. It is free. These are some links to reliable sources of information:
- How Do Covid-19 Vaccines Work? – Australian Government Site
- When Will I Get a Covid-19 Vaccine? – Australian Government Site
You may also enjoy the following blog posts:
- Signs you need to see a doctor
- Know Your personal and family health history
- Health Tips to Promote Women’s Health Week
This post is for general informational and educational purposes only. Please refer to the disclaimer.