COVID-19 Vaccines

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

As of January 11th, 2021, there has been 90 million cases of COVID-19 globally, and it is estimated nearly 2 million people have died from the disease.

When people are sick with COVID-19, they are very infectious and can easily pass COVID-19 onto others.

Australia has been quite successful in controlling COVID-19 outbreaks, but nationally over 28,000 people have been affected and 909 people have died.

Many who have died from the disease have not been able to have their families or loved ones with them at the time.

We do not want anyone to suffer this in the Kimberley. COVID-19 vaccination can help prevent this.

Why is COVID-19 such a worry?

As of 15 February 2021, there have been over 100 million reported cases of COVID-19 globally and over 2.3 million people have died from the disease. When people are sick with COVID-19 they are very infectious and can easily pass COVID-19 onto others.
Australia has been quite successful in controlling COVID-19 outbreaks, but nationally over 28,000 people have been affected and 909 people have died. Many who have died from the disease have not been able to have their families or loved ones with them at the time. We do not want anyone to suffer this in the Kimberley.

Why do we need the COVID-19 vaccine when there is no COVID-19 in our community?

During March and April 2020, a few small outbreaks of COVID-19 in the Kimberley were brought under control with border closures, public health actions (such as contact tracing and quarantine), and by the community staying at home with lockdown. Thankfully, no one became severely unwell or died.
Although the Kimberley is currently COVID-19 free, the risk of COVID-19 entering the region is ongoing. If even one case enters the region, it could result in an outbreak that affects many Kimberley people.
The department of health says:  “Getting a vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting yourself from getting really sick from COVID-19. Encourage your family, Elders and community to get vaccinated so that they are protected from serious illness from COVID-19.”

Will the vaccine stop me from getting COVID-19?

The clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine being used in Australia have shown that the vaccine does work to stop people from getting COVID-19. The vaccine that will be used in the Kimberley work best when people have two doses about 3 months apart. The vaccine is also very good at protecting people from getting very sick and dying from COVID-19. In the clinical trials, no one who had the vaccine was hospitalised or died from COVID-19.
We are hopeful that the vaccine will also prevent the spread of COVID-19, which means in the long term we might be able to vaccinate enough people to stop COVID-19 from circulating in the community. We will know more about this in the coming months as more information is available.

Will I need a second dose of the vaccine?

Yes.
The first dose of a vaccine teaches your immune system to make antibodies against a disease. The second dose triggers your immune system to make more antibodies so that you have enough to fight off an infection.

I am young, fit and healthy. Why should I get the vaccine?

The risk of becoming very unwell with COVID-19 is higher as people get older, and for people with other health conditions like heart problems, lung problems or diabetes. Despite this, we do know that there have been young and healthy people around the world who have become very unwell with COVID-19 and needed to be in hospital, or have even died. We know the AstraZeneca vaccine can stop people from getting seriously unwell. Vaccination can also help to protect your family by reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Concerns

Everyone wants to know that they themselves, their family and friends are safe, especially in an uncertain time like during a pandemic. Vaccines can have side effects, and rare reactions sometimes occur with vaccination.

The answers below will try to answer some of the questions you might have about the COVID-19 vaccination.

What does the research show about the vaccine?

All vaccines go through extensive testing before they are registered for use. First in the laboratory, then in animals, and then in people. There are three phases of clinical trials where a potential vaccine is tested in human volunteers.
In each phase, a larger group of people are given the vaccine to see if it protects them from the disease or causes any side effects. So far, the results released from the clinical trials for both vaccines approved in Australia have been very promising, showing that these vaccines can protect people from COVID-19 and are safe.

What are the side effects?

All vaccines can cause side effects. Most often, these side effects are not serious, don’t last long and usually go away completely. The most common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are some pain and tenderness where the injection is given (usually in the arm), headache, body aches, tiredness and feeling feverish. These side effects are usually mild and only last a few days. It was very rare to have a serious side effect and no one died from the vaccine during the clinical trials.

What about serious reactions to the vaccine?

Very rarely, someone might have an allergic reaction to a vaccine. This is a rare side effect possible with any vaccination we might have. Clinic staff will do a full check for you before having the vaccine to make sure it is safe for you to have it. After the vaccine, they will watch you for 15 minutes or more to make sure you aren’t allergic.

[divider_line type=”divider_line,divider_linetop,divider_blank,clear” line_type=”dashed,dotted,solid,double”]

Why aren’t kids getting the vaccine at the same time as adults?

One good thing with COVID-19 is that kids mostly don’t get too sick with it, and they don’t spread it around as much as adults do. Because of this, the vaccine developers focussed on making safe and effective vaccines for adults, who are suffering most with COVID-19 around the world.
Most COVID-19 vaccines haven’t been tested in kids yet, so we don’t know if they work in kids the same way that they work in adults. We also don’t know what the right dose for kids is yet, and whether they will be safe for them.
At the moment, there is a lot of work going on around the world to find the best COVID-19 vaccine for kids. When this vaccine becomes available, and we know it is safe and effective, kids will likely be offered vaccination. But for now, we have good vaccines for adults so the best way to protect kids (especially kids with other health conditions) from getting COVID-19 is for adults to get vaccinated.

Availability

When can we get the vaccine?

We anticipate the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to priority groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 18 after late March.

Where can we get the vaccine?

The Australian government has said that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services will be an important way to deliver the vaccine to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is likely that hospital-based clinics, general practice clinics and other immunisation providers will also be used to deliver vaccinations to people. The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all Australian citizens, permanent residents and most visa-holders.

Do I have to have the vaccine?

The Australian government has said vaccination won’t be compulsory. Each person can decide for themselves. However, you may need to have had the vaccine to do certain things in the future like travel to other states or countries.

More information

Who can I talk to if I have more questions or need more information?

You can speak to a health worker, nurse or doctor at your local clinic if you have any more questions. You can also ask a question on the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services – Covid 19 Response Facebook Page 

SMS through the KAMS COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline on 0499 461 430

© 2021 Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services