health

5 women who were 'vaccine hesitant' share what changed their mind.

As Australia's COVID-19 crisis continues to worsen, the vaccine rollout is speeding up. 

If the current pace is maintained, there are fewer than 100 days until 80 per cent of the Australian population is fully vaccinated

But research tells us there is still millions of people who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, according to Melbourne Institute, about one in five Australians consider themselves to be 'vaccine hesitant'. 

Australia's vaccine uptake is increasing rapidly. Image: Getty. 

Mamamia spoke to five women who admitted they were hesitant about getting the vaccine. Here's what changed their minds.

Anna, 37, lawyer and stay at home mother from Sydney.

I was hesitant to get the vaccine because I thought it had been rushed - not that I had done any research. I was happy for everyone else to be the 'guinea pig' and I was fearful of an adverse reaction. 

As soon as the Delta strain hit Sydney, I booked my vaccination appointment. I always knew I was going to get vaccinated, but this Delta outbreak brought forward my plans. In 2020, COVID-19 seemed like something only 'old' people got. This strain is getting scary and the lockdown seems to have no end in sight. I have a greater fear of getting COVID-19 than of any issue with the vaccine. 

If anyone is vaccine-hesitant, look at the statistics. You are far more likely to die from COVID-19 than the vaccine and your chances of getting COVID-19 are increasing by the day. It's about doing your part for our neighbours, our community and our country. 

Mandy, 52, manager of a global logistics company from Brisbane. 

I was very hesitant about AstraZeneca due to the rare risk of blood clotting. I wanted to wait until more people were vaccinated to have a level of comfort in the vaccine. Pfizer was not an option for me at the time.

I changed my mind as I have asthma. After speaking with my doctor in early July, she said to me that if I get COVID-19, I am at high risk and will likely struggle to recover. I also realised that this is not about me - this is about everyone. It put things in perspective for me and I registered the following day to have AZ. I didn't really have any symptoms after. I am scheduled to get my second dose on September 3. I am looking forward to it and I am happy I have done it.

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I want as many people to be vaccinated as possible. It is the only way out of lockdowns. Our economy is suffering and I fear we will head into a recession. As a person who has lost a family member to suicide, lockdowns cannot be the long-term answer - mental, physical and financial health are all being affected. 

Listen: What Happens If We Can’t Contain COVID-19? Post continues below. 

Rachel, 41, full-time carer from Thirroul, NSW.

As the sole carer to my young son, who has additional needs, I was fortunate to have had a priority booking for the Pfizer vaccine in early May. Unfortunately, two days before I was due to get it, my son and I got the stomach flu. It took me a few weeks to recover. By the time I was better, my appointment was no longer available.

I then became hesitant and felt really vulnerable. I recounted in my head the few times I had got sick after a flu shot. With all of the ‘unknowns’, I worried about what would happen if I had a bad reaction and how I would look after my son. So I came to the conclusion that I would wait it out and try to use isolation as my best form of defence. 

I changed my mind because I cut out the white noise, took a few days to really sit with it and then made the decision that I knew would benefit my son, my elderly neighbours and the wider community.

I finally got my first Pfizer jab last Sunday. I’m so happy it's done.

Side note... How to talk to anti-vaxxers. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

Brianna, 39, retail manager from Melbourne.

I feared getting the AZ because there is so much (false) commentary around how untested the vaccine is. Given that the original guidelines told younger people to wait for Pfizer, it made me quite anxious when my only choice was to get AZ. All the rhetoric that had played out for months was in the back of my mind. When I mentioned to a friend I was considering AZ, it started a tirade of questions that we’re based on outright lies that have spread like wildfire through social media. 

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Ultimately, my partner and I both have sick fathers, who would really suffer if they contracted COVID-19. I also work in a customer-facing role, where I literally cannot avoid being face-to-face with people. I did lots of research, spoke with my GP, and ultimately it was a simple decision to get vaccinated. I do not regret it in the slightest, but I just truly wish I didn't have to work through so much noise and false information to get to my decision. 

The biggest eye-opener for me was when I posted my first jab to my Instagram. So many people messaged me afterwards asking about side effects. One friend said how scared and freaked out they’d been, and they were so glad that someone else they knew had gotten it too. 

We really need to take the fear away. Personally, I would rather be on the side of history that really tried to be doing the right thing for our larger population. 

Sarah, 21, receptionist from Sydney.

I was hesitant because I feared the unknown. I understood that the side effects of AZ are rare, but there's always that little voice that asks, 'What if I'm that one?' Ultimately I read an article in the newspaper that explained the human brain is very bad at processing risks and often makes the risk seem higher than it statistically is. 

I'm based in Sydney and this lockdown is testing me. I feel depleted. I feel depressed. I want this to end. But I knew I didn't have a right to complain unless I was part of the solution - getting the vaccine. So I stopped feeling sorry for myself and booked in for the AZ.

I got it two weeks ago and I'm so pleased. As soon as I got it, all my previous concerns just disappeared. I've made the decision now and I don't have to think about it again!

The feature image is stock images from Getty.

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