Madeleine Taplin

Over the past weekend, Sydney has seen COVID-19 cases of the Delta variant soar to increasingly high numbers. This latest outbreak has placed significant strain on health care professionals who are attempting to battle a virus that has the upper hand. Whilst community case numbers have increased, placing Sydney into further turmoil, this outbreak has been able to prove to the wider population the importance of receiving one of the vaccines, as well as showcasing the high effectiveness and prevention rates against this new variant.

Currently, only 12.9% of the Australian population is fully vaccinated, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stating that in order to control this outbreak, vaccination numbers need to increase. Thankfully, NSW is finally in a position to allow for this roll-out to happen efficiently, with the Federal Government vowing to supply extra doses of both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. However, amidst significant supply constraints with the Pfizer vaccine, ‘ATAGI’ (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) issued a statement on Saturday stating, “all adults in the Greater Sydney Area should strongly consider getting vaccinated with any available vaccine,” – including the AstraZeneca, stating that the benefits from receiving this vaccine are significantly greater than the risk of the rare side effects for all age groups. So, what are the key points you need to know about the vaccine and its rollout?

Recent data has indicated the vaccine has significant effectiveness in protecting recipients from the Delta variant of the virus, and thus ATAGI is strongly recommending citizens receives this vaccine to help control the current outbreak. Additionally, ATAGI have stated that an increase in vaccination rates would allow lockdowns to end, and for the easing of restrictions to occur.

Additionally, ATAGI have supported the recent research that compares the risk of receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine to other common ailments. The main points to be noted from this are that the risk of blood clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine is 1 in 100,000, which can be directly compared with the risk of blood clotting from the contraceptive pill (1 in 10,000). Putting things in perspective, a vast majority of the female population utilise the contraceptive pill with few cases of clotting. Thus, if you aren’t worried about risks from the pill, there is similarly little need to be majorly concerned over the AstraZeneca vaccine – just consult with your GP.

Finally, ATAGI have stated that all GP practices will be given the green light to proceed with AstraZeneca vaccines. The group strongly recommend that citizens speak to their doctor about any concerns they have over the vaccine, where they will be able to help weigh up the risks and ultimately help you play your part in reducing the spread of the virus.

Sydneysiders now is the time to help out the broader community and help reduce the spread of the delta variant. Talk to your GP about getting the vaccine.