ANU medical students receive the COVID19 vaccine

Covid19 vaccine, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, ANU Medical Students
22 March 2021

The pandemic isn’t over yet. News headlines a week ago about a COVID19 case in Queensland and one in New South Wales remind us that we are not out of the woods and that COVID-19 is still a threat.

The fact that it was a doctor and a quarantine hotel security guard who contracted COVID19, highlights the need to vaccinate front line workers as soon as possible.

Although over 160,000 Australians have already received a first dose of the COVID19 vaccine, we still have a way to go before all are protected.

Over the past two weeks, some of the Australian National University’s (ANU) Medical School clinicians have been among the first in the ACT to receive the jab. This week, ANU medical students will be afforded the same privilege.

Gabrielle Gross, President of the ANU Medical Student Society, along with Professor Zsuzsoka Kecskes, Director of the ANU Medical School, were given their first dose of the COVID19 Pfizer vaccine. The second dose of the vaccine is given at least 21 days later.

Once fully vaccinated a person’s chance of developing COVID19 is greatly reduced. However, no vaccine is 100% effective so there is a chance that a person can still get COVID19 after vaccination. If that happens, the effects of the illness will likely be mild but that person can still infect others. Precautions for this need to remain in place.

Professor Kecskes said, “We’re so fortunate in Australia to be in the position we’re in. The Pfizer and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccinations have proven to be effective and safe. Working with our most vulnerable patients, newborn babies in the neonatal intensive care unit; it is a huge relief to know I’ve done everything I can to protect my patients and myself from COVID19.”

“I feel fortunate to have received my first dose,” said Ms Gross. “I know there can be some mild side effects such as muscle aches and pains or headache but it’s a tiny inconvenience compared to what the vaccine offers.”

“As an aspiring doctor it’s my duty to do the most I can for the patients I work with. Taking the vaccine means I’ve done my best to prevent the spread of the virus. I’m looking forward to my second dose, which will make me fully vaccinated.”

The government is targeting end of October/early November for all Australian adults to be vaccinated. In the meantime, we need to remain vigilant in our day-to-day lives.

Keeping physically distanced, maintaining hand hygiene, covering the mouth with an elbow when coughing and sneezing, staying home and COVID19 testing when sick, are all things we should continue to do until the majority of Australians are vaccinated.

“We’ve done so well as a nation and there is a little light at the end of the COVID19 tunnel,” Professor Kecskes said. “It’s easy to become complacent as the vaccination roll-out begins but now, more than ever, we need to continue to be careful to prevent further outbreaks. I’m sure no one wants to end up in another lock-down situation.”