Editor’s Desk: Nothing to fear as mundane daily tasks more dangerous than COVID jab

Headshot of Kate Campbell
Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
A nurse at the makeshift vaccination facility at Claremont Showground.
Camera IconA nurse at the makeshift vaccination facility at Claremont Showground. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Getty Images

I’m not used to being first in line for much at all.

I’ve never won anything at sport. Despite my best intentions (or more my lack of patience and perseverance) I rarely sit by my computer or wait in line to score a coveted ticket for a concert that usually sells out in 10 minutes.

I never pay my bills early. I’m usually slack with my GP check-ups, and more years than not I’ve bypassed the annual flu jab.

But the moment I heard my age group was eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, I got online and booked myself in.

And this week I had my first dose of the Pfizer jab.

It hurt a little (you feel it more than the flu needle) but nothing to whinge about.

If my only choice was AstraZeneca, I still would have willingly joined the queue and had it.

Walking out after my 15-minute wait post-jab, I felt a surge of pride for doing my bit to help get this topsy-turvy world back on an even keel.

Although part of me was disappointed I didn’t get a sticker or a certificate, I gave myself a figurative pat on the back.

I was lucky in two respects: due to my age, I was eligible for Pfizer. And because I had booked in ASAP, I had locked my jab in before the government rejigged the Pfizer age threshold.

If I had been my usual procrastinating self, I would have been pushed back in line.

But here’s the thing. If my only choice was AstraZeneca, I still would have willingly joined the queue and had it.

I realise a big percentage of those suffering “vaccine hesitancy” are not tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers.

They are working through their own concerns, confusion and considerations in the middle of information and misinformation overload.

But scaremongering about the “dangers” of AstraZeneca carries with it a risk of endangering the greater good.

Looking at the science and research, four to six people out of a million could develop the blood clotting side effect after getting the AstraZeneca jab, according to the Federal Department of Health.

Looking at the facts, two people have died in Australia out of 3.8 million people vaccinated.

That’s one in every 1.9m jabs.

And here are some of the activities that are far riskier than getting the AstraZeneca jab. Long-haul flights and taking a contraceptive pill carry a higher blood-clotting risk than old AZ.

It’s more dangerous to use our roads, or do DIY work around your home with a ladder. You’re far more likely to die from alcohol-related causes or domestic violence than an AstraZeneca side effect. But that won’t stop me driving or crossing a road, putting an end to my itchy feet when I can eventually travel overseas again, or climbing a ladder to change a light bulb or paint a room.

Or having the odd drinking session (although at my stage in life, home renos are far more common).

And when something has less risk attached to it than being killed by a shark or a lightning strike, I take the view there is not much to fear.

But if we don’t reach herd immunity — now, that’s a scary thought.

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