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Making the choice to get vaccinated

Fully-vaccinated QAIHC staff Policy Officer Andrew Goodman and Communications Officer, Jacob Pagan are helping spread the word to mob about making the choice to get vaccinated.

Proud Aboriginal man and from Barcaldine on Iningai Country, Andrew Goodman wants mob to make informed decisions about getting the jab.

Andrew and Jacob both recently shared their vaccination stories and discussed what motivated them to make the choice and get the jab.

For Andrew—a dad of two young boys and a fulltime PHD student at the University of Queensland and CSIRO—there were both personal and professional aspects that factored into his decision making about getting vaccinated.

“Not only do I need to make sure my family and my community are safe but also I have a responsibility as a healthcare practitioner that the communities that I go out to are safe, and also I practice what I preach—I can’t be saying things and not doing it myself,” he said.

Communications Officer and proud Aboriginal man, with family links to Barunggam mob, Jacob Pagan factored in the practicalities of being vaccinated into his decision.

“I figured with all the talk about the vaccination passports I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to travel abroad and I wanted to be protected in terms of reducing the severity of the symptoms,” Jacob said.

I didn’t want it to disrupt work and I didn’t want to risk catching it and be laid out for an extended period,” he said.

Living in Brisbane, both Andrew and Jacob found the experience of booking and receiving the vaccine simple and relatively painless.

“For me, it was very simple. Fortunately, I live in Brisbane, that has walk-in clinics every single day of the week,” Andrew said.

“My process was that I walked into the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, the vaccination clinic there. This was back in April—I got the AstraZeneca—I walked in, got my jab. I waited the 15 minutes and got my little card to tell me to come back in 12 weeks and then I got my second jab in early July back in the same clinic.”

Jacob said he used the Department of Health eligibility checker to register his interest to be vaccinated.

“That afternoon (after registering via the eligibility checker) I got the email that said you’re able to make a booking and it showed me where I could book and the closest to home was about 10 kilometres away,” Jacob said.

As for side effects, both Andrew and Jacob were pleasantly surprised.

While Jacob didn’t even feel his first vaccination, his second jab did hurt a bit and while he was prepared to have to take it easy after that second jab, he didn’t experience any side effects.

“It was fine and I went home and enjoyed my weekend and that was it,” Jacob said.

Andrew experienced a restless night sleep after the first jab.

“I had a little bit of fever and restlessness, so I didn’t sleep that good and the next day I was a bit rough just because of the sleeplessness.

“My second one was fantastic, I was getting myself ready for a sleepless night after that but there wasn’t one—no fever, so I was very lucky with the second one as there were no side effects,” he said.

“I feel like I’ve done my part, as much as I think we’re going to continue to see these lockdowns and mask wearing mandates, for me personally, I’ve just taken the right step to getting to the end of this pandemic,” Andrew said.

Making the right choice about health and wellbeing is something that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have done before, and will continue to do, said Andrew.

“We need to continue to be the leaders that we have been throughout the pandemic, the ACCHO and AMS sector have very much been the leaders of how information has been distributed and safety mechanisms put in place.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve been handed something external to us and our culture that we’ve had to deal with in a proactive, self-determined and self-managed way, so I’m sure that people are just going to pull together and do the right, informed thing,” Andrew said.

The Pfizer vaccine is rolling out through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations (ATSICCHOs) in Queensland at the end of July and the beginning of August.

Providing ATSICCHOs with the ability to administer Pfizer doses will allow a lot more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access to the vaccine—especially in regional and remote areas—and will help get mob vaccinated sooner.

During this time, QAIHC are making sure that our Members, our staff and the community have the information they need to make the right decision for their health and wellbeing.

The Make the choice COVID-19 vaccine communications campaign—a collaboration between QAIHC, Queensland Health and the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health—launched in August and is continuing to roll out with localised content for QAIHC Member Services. For more information or to get in contact with QAIHC email communications@qaihc.com.au.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and sea where we live and work, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

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