Teamwork: the staff at the Bendigo mass vaccination hub last Friday. Photo: KATIE MARTIN

What’s it like getting the COVID vacc?

June 11, 2021 BY

AS coronavirus vaccination efforts ramp up with rollout expansions and blitzes, members of the public have joined the queues to get the jab.

Optometrist Caleb Van Cooten received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine last week at the mass vaccination hub on Mollison Street.

He said his experience was a “straightforward” one after originally booking his own appointment online at the old Bendigo hospital in mid-May.

“I was in a fairly quiet time for both times, so I probably had to wait for about maybe half-an-hour before I got my injection,” he said.

“Then you can grab your Chupa Chup, wait for 15 minutes and you go on your way.

“I barely felt a thing with the injections and the second one that I had, my arm just feels a tiny bit sore just like a bit of a bruise at the injection site and that’s really the only side effect I’ve had.

“Neither time that I went in was particularly busy and it seemed to be well organised and quite professionally done.”

Nicole Murphy wanted to get the Pfizer vaccine to protect the patients at her podiatry clinic and received her first and second doses in April and May, respectively, also at the old Bendigo hospital.

“I feel like I could be easily a super spreader if I was to get coronavirus just because I’m seeing 15 different people every day for half-hour stints and they’re all going home to their families, so I was quite keen to go early,” she said.

Unlike Mr Van Cooten, Ms Murphy said she felt a side effect around four hours after receiving her second vaccination but recovered after a day.

“I was just extremely fatigued,” she said. “I had a day where I couldn’t do much and then the next day I was fine and just went to work as if nothing happened.”

Trevor Barker received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine two weeks ago and is booked in again around mid-August.

“It was delivered through a local GP clinic. It was a pretty organised event, really,” he said.

“It was booked well before the most recent outbreak and I would’ve had it earlier had it been available earlier. I had it at the earliest possible opportunity.

“I certainly had it because community safety and health is really important.”

Director of Loddon Mallee Public Health Unit and deputy chief medical officer at Bendigo Health, Dr Casey Nottage, said while each individual experience is different there have been some similarities.

“Broadly what we’ve seen is people tend to have a stronger reaction after their first AstraZeneca dose and a stronger reaction after their second Pfizer dose,” she said.

“That’s the experience I had but nothing that wasn’t managed with some simple home remedies and being aware that that might be the case and looking out for it.”

Dr Nottage said people should consult with their GP if they have any questions or concerns before or after their vaccination.

“Getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself,” she said.

“We know vaccines are a public health strategy and its really about the benefits for yourself but then the benefits for the community around you.”