With the way things are unfolding in Australia (and Sydney in particular) it makes sense for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 sooner rather than later. For most young Aussies, our best bet for now is to get the AstraZeneca jab.
While the imported Pfizer vaccine is only available to select groups in limited numbers, anyone and everyone is currently able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine which is manufactured in Melbourne.
Even better is the fact that you can get it from your local GP, meaning you won’t have to wait months in a queue for an appointment at one of the larger, purpose-built vaccination clinics.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as a young person in Australia.
How do I get the AstraZeneca vaccine?
If you’re under 40, all you need to do is book a doctor’s appointment.
Just pop your details into the government’s vaccine eligibility checker (and check the box saying you’re happy to consider the AstraZeneca vaccine) and then you’ll be shown a list of doctor’s clinics that are offering the jab right now.
When you’re at the clinic, the doctor will discuss your current medical condition and talk you through the benefits and risks of the vaccine. You’ll then need to sign a document on the spot saying you’re keen to get jabbed.
It’s literally as simple as that. You don’t even need to have visited this clinic before or have a dedicated GP there!
What about the blood clots?
The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective. Countless people have taken it around the world, including over six million Aussies.
There is a very, very slight risk of developing a rare blood clotting condition known as TTS after receiving the AstraZeneca shot, but your doctor will talk you through this and will only proceed if they judge that it’s safe to do so.
Remember that the odds of developing TTS are around 2.4 per 100,000 in people under 60. That’s way lower than the chances of developing other blood clots in drugs like the pill, for example.
Compare that to the vey real risk of falling seriously ill from the Delta strain of COVID-19, and it’s easy to see why experts want most young people to opt for AstraZeneca.
“In the context of the Delta threat, I just cannot understand why people would not be taking the opportunity to go out and get AstraZeneca in droves,” NSW Chief Health Office Dr Kerry Chant said last Friday.
Isn’t it better to wait for Pfizer?
Experts and health authorities say it isn’t better to wait for more doses of Pfizer to become available. The best vaccine is the one you can get now, and for most young Aussies, that means it’s AstrazZeneca time.
There’s no denying that the government has absolutely fucked out vaccine rollout, and that means supplies of Pfizer will remain pretty limited for months to come.
“It’s not likely that large amounts of Pfizer are going to find their way into New South Wales, anytime soon,” Australian Medical Association President Dr Omar Khorshid said last Friday.
Luckily, the AstraZeneca vaccine now being produced in Melbourne so supplies are relatively abundant.
In urging young Aussies to roll up their sleeves for AstraZeneca, Korshid added: “COVID is so much more dangerous than any vaccine.”
What about getting the jab at pharmacies?
A pilot program in NSW has allowed pharmacies to administer the AstraZeneca to people over 40, but starting from Wednesday, some pharmacies will expand this to anyone over the age of 18.
“We thought we’d have more resistance to AstraZeneca but a lot of people have realised it’s safe,” one pharmacist in the hotspot LGA of Canturbury-Bankstown told The Australian Financial Review.
“We definitely feel – talking among pharmacists and our staff – that there has been a turnaround.
“All the terrible news lately has changed people’s minds and they’ve realised that 0.6 in a million chance of it knocking you off the perch isn’t very much chance at all.”
Wise words. Hopefully this program scales up soon. We’ll have more info about getting the AstraZeneca jab at pharmacies as soon as it’s available.