When Cintia Del Rio heard the Prime Minister’s announcement that under 40s could book in for an AstraZeneca vaccine, she got straight on the phone.
Working in the wounded tourism sector, Cintia is eager to get vaccinated and do her part to manage the virus in the community.
“Our generation is coping with a lot of economical problems. If older people are not willing to take the vaccine, at least I’m... growing Australia’s statistics,” she said.
But despite spending the whole of Tuesday on the phone, the 35-year-old was unable to get through to her Sydney GP. She then tried to call other clinics.
“I called five clinics. Three of them told me they weren’t aware that under 40s could take it,” Cintia told The Feed.
“[The] fourth told me I needed an evaluation from my GP.
“The last one said they are still waiting for government recommendations and guidelines.”
Cintia is now planning to wait until next week to try and make an appointment as she doesn’t want to “swamp” GPs.
“I don’t want to put the GPs in a bad position. I don't want to overload it,” she said.
What are other young people saying?
The Feed spoke to several young Australians across the country who are eager to get the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Kieran Elley is a 25-year-old behavioural therapist, living in Brisbane.
“I’m planning to book [the AstraZeneca jab] later this week,” he told The Feed.
Kieran said he’s keen to get the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as possible but admits he was confused by the government’s messaging yesterday.
“I personally thought [the new announcement] was unbelievable considering there hadn’t been any new medical advice,” Kieran said.
“I just thought it would increase the confusion in the population.”
The Australian Medical Association the government’s announcement yesterday about younger people getting the jab.
It said it goes against advice from the vaccine safety body, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
As reported by , ATAGI’s advice remains that Pfizer is the preferred vaccine for under 60s due to an increased risk of rare clotting events linked to the AstraZeneca jab.
Both Queensland and Western Australian governments advised residents to follow the ATAGI’s guidelines on Wednesday, rather than the federal government’s announcement.
Drawn up syringes containing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines and the empty vial are seen in a tray. Source: Paul Kane/Getty Images
NSW’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant also emphasised the importance of respecting ATAGI's advice and advised residents to speak with their GP.
Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters on Tuesday the medical advice had not changed but patients and doctors are able to make decisions about AstraZeneca “on the basis of their individual circumstances and their own judgement.”
“It would be a matter for states and territories if they wish to implement that,” he added.
‘I’m so excited to get the vaccine’
Anneke Meehl considers herself lucky in that she’s already managed to make an appointment for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The 26-year-old said it had been as easy as calling up her Melbourne GP.
“I'm on such a high. I was so excited that I've been able to book in,” she told The Feed.
Anneke spent months in lockdown in Melbourne and said there were days where she’d cry at her desk from the stress of the pandemic.
“It was really tough,” she said.
“And maybe that's part of why I want the vaccine that badly, because I've had to live through those multiple lockdowns.”
Anneke said she was also motivated to book an appointment as her sister and other family members live overseas.
“I haven't seen my sister since 2019. I have a ton of family overseas and I can’t see them until the border is open,” she said.
“The sooner we'll get [the vaccine], the sooner the borders can open.”
Anneke is also planning to get married in November and is hoping the pandemic doesn’t curtail her plans.
“I’d really like some normalcy in terms of border closures, travel restrictions and lockdowns,” she said.
“But there probably isn’t a COVID normal to return to, it will be COVID from here on in.”
The Feed has contacted Health Minister Greg Hunt and the Health Department for comment. The story will be updated with their comments.