Well, these last few days of vaccine news have been an absolute tonne of fun, haven’t they?
After the European Medicines Agency found a “possible link” between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, both Australian state and federal governments have been racing to restore some sense of order to what can only be described as a clusterfuck of epic proportions.
For me, specifically, it’s put me in an awkward position since, well, I’ve already gotten the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. I got it exactly two weeks ago. As someone with a compromised immune system, I was so damn excited to get it as well. I was even interviewed about it for the Sydney Morning Herald (Note: PEDESTRIAN and the Sydney Morning Herald are both owned by Nine.)
Now? I’m not so sure. Not about getting the vaccine: I’m still getting that damn jab when it’s my turn to get the booster. I’ll fight a mf’er to give me the metaphorical ticket out of this shit. But rather, I’m uncertain if my booster shot is happening at all at this point. (Editor’s note: the NSW government briefly paused the vaccine rollout on Friday, but restarted the rollout a few hours later.)
There is so much uncertainty around the rollout, in Australia specifically, that it feels more and more like a miracle that I got the first shot at all. At Easter lunch, my brother – who works in an oncology lab and is technically part of group 1a for the vaccine rollout – described his days-long ordeal to get his vaccine shot booked. Other friends and colleagues have had similar predicaments, with bookings being turned away, moved around, and (as of a few hours ago) cancelled completely.
Compare this with the experience in other nations, including the USA, where the vaccine rollout seems to be going surprisingly efficiently. Friends in the USA have described how almost everyone they know has gotten at least one shot, with most getting the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and it was as simple as booking a time online at their local CVS (the American equivalent of Chemist Warehouse). Similarly, I am inundated with selfies from my Brazilian relatives with their vaccine cards, many with either Moderna or the Chinese-manufactured CoronaVac written on them, on my social media feeds.
Yes, both the USA and Brazil are suffering way more from this pandemic than we are, especially Brazil. But the stark contrast in their rather effective vaccine rollout, compared to our aforementioned clusterfuck, really does say a lot about how well this is being run locally, and how our government pinned all our hopes on one vaccine, rather than taking the multi-vaccine approach that other nations have successfully adopted.
As for the jab itself? Without the second booster shot (and the necessary two-week waiting period after that) I won’t be fully protected. What I can say, for certain, are the side effects I did have: about two hours after the vaccine, I was out like a light. It was like I had taken an entire pack of Codral all at once and washed it down with Jack Daniels for safe measure. I was asleep for a solid fourteen hours, which – truth be told – actually ruled because I was seriously lacking in that department.
After that, my arm was sore for a few days after then… nothing, I guess? No superpowers, no changed DNA, no extra limbs, and definitely no 5G microchip. Trust me: mobile coverage in my house is shit, I could have used the Bill Gates-sponsored boost to my phone signal.
And, all things considered, the likelihood of getting a blood clot doesn’t outweigh the benefits of getting the vaccine. Those aren’t my words, by the way: that’s the official recommendations by the European Health Authorities.
For now, I just wait to hear back from my clinic with updates on what is happening. Considering that mixing vaccines across first and second doses is still in the trail phase, the chances of me changing over to Pfizer at this stage are very low. And my second shot is booked for June, twelve weeks after my initial dose. Considering how fast the news changes, it could still be going ahead as planned, after all
But really, who knows. Your guess is as good as mine at this point. And, at the end of the day, that’s the major problem. If I, a person who (I’d like to think) is relatively well-informed about the vaccine and its pros and cons, is feeling uncertain about it all, then what about the general population?