Local school teacher Ben Cummins is among the thousands of people under 40 rolling up their sleeves and getting the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
When Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that AstraZeneca would be opened up to under 40s with informed consent, 37-year-old Mr Cummins jumped at the opportunity.
“With the past few weeks and being in a career where I deal with hundreds of children a day and with the new Delta strain showing the risk to staff and students, I didn’t want to wait,” the Ropes Crossing resident said.
“I made a phone to my local GP who wouldn’t do it as they’re busy with those over 60, so I found another GP who was fantastic, he asked me questions about my health history, asked what I know about the risk and then away we went. The fact is the more people who get vaccinated the sooner we can end this zero-Covid madness and the potential of lockdown.”
Mr Cummins said the ever-changing advice around AstraZeneca and talk of side effects, which are rare, did not overly concern him.
“With every medication there is a risk involved, it’s very much a matter of risk/reward,” he said.
“I did the reading, I assessed the risk and with both my parents having the AstraZeneca and my father and father-in-law both with hearth/blood pressure issues I wanted to do my part to help protect them, my wife and my friends and family.”
Mr Cummins is hoping vaccination rates continue to rise in Australia, knowing it’s the key to avoiding future lockdowns and opening up international travel in the future.
“This idea of ‘Covid isn’t here’ is a myth and something which cannot be maintained long term, life needs to get back to normal,” he said.
“People cannot stay home, we need social interaction, we need an income, kids need school, and we need to open up to the world. I look at Europe, USA and other countries with high vaccination and while cases still happen, deaths aren’t and that’s the key. It’s nothing to do with CSL shares or Liberal Government lining their own pockets. It’s about a vaccine which works, it saves lives and we can make it here in Australia, we don’t need to rely on other nations to ship a supply over.”
Mr Cummins received his first dose of the vaccine last week.
He said he understands why there’s concerns from some around the vaccines, but says it’s important to be properly informed.
“Speak to your GP, know the risk, don’t just get sucked into a fear campaign,” he said.
Former Western Weekender journalist Lucy McNally, who is in her 30s and now living in London, has also received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“When you go to the GP and he or she gives you a prescription for a chest infection or other ailment for example, you often get it filled without researching the drug or knowing if it’s one you’ve taken before,” she told the ABC.
“I was and remain frustrated and saddened by the quickness with which some people dismiss this vaccine.”
Anyone under 40 considering getting the AstraZeneca vaccine should talk to their doctor.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.