Worried About the COVID-19 Vaccine? Here’s What You Need to Know

With COVID-19 impacting the lives of everyone in the world, governing bodies, including the Australian Government, are encouraging people to get vaccinated so life can start to go back to normal.

However, there are many people who don’t want to get vaccinated, for a number of different reasons. 

If you or someone you know is worried about getting vaccinated against COVID-19, here are the facts you need to consider.

The risks of developing vaccine complications are extremely low

Currently, in Australia, there are two COVID-19 vaccines available: Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Moderna is another vaccine and is likely to be available in late 2021. Both of these vaccines require two doses to be fully effective, and you might experience some mild side-effects in the days following administration from both. However, many of these side-effects are similar to what you would experience following a regular flu vaccination, and will likely go away after one to two days. Some side-effects include:

  • Injection site pain or tenderness
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever and chills

Everyone is different, so there is no guarantee whether you will or won’t experience these side-effects. 

There have also been a lot of news reports on blood clots possibly resulting from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is considered safe to use, with the chance of developing blood clots similar to being struck by lightning in Australia (in other words, extremely rare). 

As of 9 August 2021, about 14 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people in Australia. While a very small number of deaths have been linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, it has proven to be effective at reducing hospital admissions and death from COVID-19, even against the Delta variant

To understand this in a lighter way, check out this Instagram account which helps put the risks of vaccines into perspective. 

People will have different opinions

You may have seen online discussions about whether or not people should get vaccinated, or had discussions with family and friends on this topic. Like with anything you might disagree about in life, from politics to ideology, it’s important to maintain a healthy and respectful dialogue.

To protect your relationships while disagreeing on a serious issue, keep in mind these tips:

  • Listen: Rather than focusing on your argument, really try to understand what the other person is saying, and where their feelings and views might be coming from. Don’t interrupt the other person; if you listen to someone, they are also more likely to listen to you and try to understand your perspective.
  • Take a break: If your discussion is becoming hurtful and not productive, stop the conversation until both participants have had a chance to calm down. No one is going to change their mind if they are too angry or hurt.
  • Agree to disagree: You won’t always be able to change someone’s mind, especially in one conversation. Sometimes you have to accept this fact, and hope they might change their mind in the future on their own.
  • Be respectful: Don’t use this discussion to be offensive to the other participant or anyone else. Stick to the facts, and try not to let personal issues influence you too much.

Find news from the right sources

There is a lot of inaccurate or exaggerated news on social media and the internet in general. When it comes to serious issues such as COVID-19, it’s important you find correct information from trustworthy sources.

For news on COVID-19 cases, vaccines, and restrictions in Australia, the Australian Government’s official website is constantly being updated with the latest information. Each individual Australian state and territory will also have specific information relating to their areas on their official websites.

For international COVID-19 news, the World Health Organisation provides the latest information. If you are looking for updates on a specific country, each country’s official government website should have the information you are looking for.

How to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia 

If you are wondering if you can get a COVID-19 vaccination as an international student in Australia, the answer is: yes!

Anyone in Australia can get COVID-19 vaccinations for free, as long they fit eligibility criteria within their state or territory. To find out if you are eligible, look up the criteria on your state or territory government’s website, or call your local COVID-19 vaccine clinic. You can also use the Australian Government’s online Vaccines Eligibility Checker*

*Note: There may be some delays between government announcements and the eligibility checker, e.g. those aged 16+ in South Australia may still be deemed ineligible by the Vaccines Eligibility Checker. Always double-check your state or territory government’s website and follow the instructions they provide.

If you are living in Sydney, new websites such as COVID Queue can let you know when and where appointments are available for COVID-19 vaccinations.