“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela
An inspirational video above of Dame Sarah Gilbert receiving a standing ovation. Sarah and her team developed the Oxford vaccine.
I am writing this on Sunday, the 25 July, and I have just returned from receiving my first Pfizer vaccine at 8.53 am. I made the decision a couple of weeks ago. The appointment at the Melbourne Convention Centre was booked at 9.09 am on 24 July, less than 24 hours earlier. I had found a couple of slots in the last fortnight; however, they were inconvenient. If you are eligible and in Melbourne, you will probably find a slot at short notice if you take some time to hunt around.
Here are a couple of links -
An article in simple language from Yale Medical about the different types of vaccines. I choose Pfizer because of the technology and it is approved for US travel; AstraZeneca isn’t at the moment
ABC has published a very useful 9 min “explainer” video; “If you’re vaccinated against COVID-19, how protected are you from catching the virus? Watch it here
Those in Victoria can visit the Victorian Government website and look for appointments at various locations. You will need to register there; every time you sign in, there is a two-factor authentication process that is very easy.
A rundown of the morning’s events –
I collected my regular coffee at 7.30 am. The road was empty as Melbourne remains in lockdown, and the drive to the city was swift
Being a Sunday, it was easy to park out on the street. After my vaccine, I was offered a ticket to exit the MCC at no cost. I wasn’t aware of this earlier, worth knowing if you decide to go there
Outside the MCC, I checked into the Royal Melbourne Hospital App via a QR code and was asked a series of COVID symptoms, hotspot, and travel-related type questions
There were two lines for AstraZeneca and Pfizer, the latter being longer; groups of ten were admitted into the building. I was asked to check in again via a different QR code for the MCC. My freshly washed, trusty black face mask, was replaced with a surgical one as per vaccine protocols
I entered another room with a long check-in desk where I provided my photo id and medicare card, placing these on a square that was cleaned after every visitor. A male concierge with sky-blue painted nails checked my details within the booking system. Upon confirmation, I was ushered to a makeshift cubicle area (picture below) and met Mesa, my nurse. There are ushers everywhere, all very friendly
Mesa checked my details; I showed her my Medicare card and read out the number, and Mesa asked some sensible medical history questions. We also had a brief social chat. Since March, Mesa has been working at the centre and administers 75 doses a day (what a legend); she greatly enjoys meeting everyone
Mesa showed me the Pfizer vile and enquired about what I do while injecting me! I explained I like to write and would be doing a blog about my experience. (Hi Mesa, if you are reading)
As Pfizer must be refrigerated, I thought it would be cold, it wasn’t, and it felt warm. I was then ushered to a waiting area to sit for 15 minutes with many others. I left the building at 9.08 am and was home around 9.45 am. When I arrived home, I booked my follow-up shot at Sandown in Springvale that showed availability. I suspect this was now available as it is to be my second dose.
Here is some helpful information I was provided about how Pfizer works –
“Today you have received the Comirnaty (Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd) vaccine. This vaccine can prevent people from becoming ill from COVID-19. Comirnaty does not contain any live virus, and it cannot give you COVID-19. It contains the genetic code for an important part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus called the spike protein. After getting the vaccine, your body makes copies of the spike protein. Your immune system will then learn to recognise and fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The genetic code is broken down quickly by the body.”
Beyond a sore arm for half a day and some lethargy on Monday, I have had no other reactions!