• Kristin Perissinotto

Give me my fucking vaccine

A 27 year old man in Sydney died from COVID-19, Delta strain. He was fit and healthy according to his family. Apparently he started feeling fatigued and just... died. By all accounts, it seems to have happened rapidly. He was unvaccinated.


I'm 27. I'm fit and healthy. I'm also unvaccinated. This death freaked me the fuck out, so I spent the days following it trying to figure out if and how I can get my first dose of the vaccine. Well no, I spent a few days worrying about catching COVID. Then I spent one painful morning trying all avenues to see if I can get a jab.


I've heard the very clear advice from Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young (who I think is great). Her official word is that someone of my age should get the Pfizer jab. In fact, she has been quite clear in the past few months that people of my age are not to get AstraZeneca.


I've also heard whispers from under-30s who have gotten vaccinated. Over the past few weeks, I've gotten the occasional message, "we can get vaccinated! So-and-so from work got their jab!" Usually AstraZeneca. "No," I would say "we're not eligible, and it's against health advice."


I am, for the most part, a big fan of rules. I like plans and order. I know the vaccine rollout plan off by heart, and I know that a 27 year old non-essential/frontline worker with none of the key underlying health conditions is absolutely not eligible.


Unless you ask the Prime Minister, who has publicly announced that everyone should go and get the vaccine! Unfortunately he forgot to secure enough doses because he turned down a boatload of Pfizer jabs on account of their price being too high.


So I know that I shouldn't be in line for the vax. Jeanette has explicitly told me I'm not. Not yet. but again, I'm fucking rattled by this young Sydney guy's death. So I go looking. I go back to all the people who's friend so and so got the jab.


One of them told me a local racecourse had turned into a vax clinic - I could probably just walk in! How bloody easy is that, I thought. I'm free today (due to being in lockdown and legally bound to have no plans), I'll just scoot over there and get the jab. In and out.


But then I thought it's probably better to call. Maybe I should book? I called them. No answer, but the voice message told me to visit the Queensland Health website where I can book. I did. Bookings aren't available though, all I could do was register my interest. I did that. No response.


The next person sent me a link to a directory of all the pharmacies who There were tonnes of appointments. Some as soon as the following day, and within three kilometers of my house. I've cracked the code. I called the first pharmacy. They have AstraZeneca in. Official health advice for Queenslanders my age says that if I get AZ, I should consult a doctor. That means finding a GP appointment another mid-lockdown trip. I called the next pharmacy.


They have AZ too. But the pharmacist tells me they're administering jabs to anyone over 18, as per the official advice they've received, which differs from the advice the public has been told. He told me I can get it as long as I give informed consent, and have I done my own research? I resist saying that due to the absolute shitstorm the media has created, I'm finding it really tough to do that. He tells me I could call around and another pharmacy might have Pfizer. I call more.


I call four more of the pharmacies that have vaccine appointments available online. None of them have stock - they haven't received it yet. At this point my blood pressure had spiked and so had a visceral hatred for the federal government. Why is it so hard? Why is this falling to me? I live in a developed nation with one of the best healthcare systems on the fucking PLANET.


I start looking into stats and facts about the AZ jab for under 30s. But I'm not qualified to interpret the data. I have a fucking communications degree, and I failed two stats courses. For every article I found against, there is another for. Most of them end the same way: Do your own research! Which is what I'm TRYING to do.


I abandon the search. Then my phone pings with the Queensland Health email, a response to my registration of interest. It lists the people who are eligible for a vax. I'm not qualified. I already know this. But there's another link! Check your eligibility on the federal system, it says. I briefly wonder why the F we have a different checker for state and federal, but then I remember I live in a Labor state.


I fill out the form. YOU ARE ELIGIBLE. Knock me down with a fucking feather. I'm fucking PUMPED. I click through. Would you like to find an appointment? YES! I've been at this for hours by this point. Would you like to filter by closest appointment or first available? The site asks. I select first available, then scroll to the list. I enter my details then the available appointment flashes up:


10:00am 4 November, 2021.