Article – Courtesy of Queensland Health
We all know vaccines have been around for a long time, but right now it might seem like the COVID-19 vaccines are all you hear about when you turn on your TV, the radio, or open social media.
It might even be dominating the conversations you overhear on the train each morning.
From legitimate stories of blood clots and allergies, to conspiracy theories like microchips and autism, we are constantly flooded with the good, bad, and ugly of vaccine information.
But what does this mean? Are the COVID-19 vaccines more dangerous than the vaccines that protect us against chicken pox, whooping cough, and measles?
In short? No.
The COVID-19 vaccines are topical. They’re new. They’re in vogue. They are under the global microscope in a way modern medicine has never seen before. More popular than Taylor Swift, more controversial than the Kardashians.
This attention, coupled with a mass vaccination rate never seen in history, means potential issues with the vaccine are exacerbated.
Let’s compare the pair.
2.8 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been given globally.
That’s a contribution of 321 million vaccinations from the USA in six months, where annually the American national influenza campaign only distributed 174 million vaccines the whole of last year!
We are vaccinating very large numbers of people over a short period of time. When you hear some media outlets reporting severe reactions, this doesn’t mean there’s more of them, statistically, it means we hit fast-forward on outcomes we would normally see over months – even years. A certain number of unexpected and unusual reactions are going to happen, by chance, in the period following vaccination.
It’s like watching a Quentin Tarantino movie on 10x speed and thinking, ‘Gee, I’ve seen a lot of Brad Pitt in just five minutes.’
So how exactly do we know these vaccines are safe and what does it actually mean when we hear that vaccine safety is monitored regularly?
In a nutshell, the normal, business-as-usual safety and monitoring systems are still at play.
In Australia, we have the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
The TGA has overall responsibility for monitoring the safety of medicines and vaccines in Australia. They were also the group responsible for approving their use in the first place.
They are also the body who manage reports of adverse events, in order to centrally detect safety concerns and communicate these issues to the public.
That’s why it is mandatory for any clinician to report any adverse reactions you may have to a vaccination of any kind, not just the COVID-19 vaccines.
ATAGI provides advice to the Federal Minister for Health and research organisations on current immunisation research and areas that need further attention, and consults with relevant organisations to implement immunisation policies, procedures, and vaccine safety.
It was ATAGI that led the changes we saw some weeks ago in relation to the AstraZeneca vaccine and new recommendations for those under 50 years of age.
None of this is new. But all of this works.
In fact, Australia has some of the strictest and most closely monitored vaccine standards in the world.
We even started using AusVaxSafety back in 2014, alongside the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. AusVaxSafety is a vaccine surveillance system that allows us to proactively look for potential issues with vaccinations.
Texts or emails are sent to individuals, asking them survey questions on their health after being vaccinated. This is on top of the other systems we already have.
So far this year, AusVaxSafety has surveyed nearly 187,000 people after they’ve had the 2021 influenza vaccine. This number will continue to grow through the year. Last year (2020) it was around 260,000 in total.
The public should feel confident in vaccines—the science is sound—but they should also feel safe in the knowledge that we’re always monitoring, always watching, always checking.
Please get vaccinated when it is your turn to do so.
Want to know more?
You can register to receive the COVID vaccine at Getting vaccinated.
What are the best ways to fight the flu?
Get a flu shot – It is important to get the flu vaccination each year to continue to be protected, since it wears off after 3 or 4 months and flu strains change over time. Book an appointment with us today for your flu shot.
Wash your hands – Incidences of flu so far are down on previous years due to social distancing and personal hygiene from COVID.
Cover your Cough and Sneezes – into your elbow is the best way to prevent the spread.
Stay at Home – in most cases, you can treat mild flu or cold symptoms at home.
Beginning Monday 19th April, we welcome Dietician, Emma Day who is a qualified Dietitian and Nutritionist who graduated from the University of the Sunshine Coast with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics. Emma will be available alternate Mondays. She is passionate about helping people through food and nutrition while using a holistic and evidence-based approach.
Emma understands the importance of providing personalized nutrition advice that is tailored to the individual and supports their goals.
Emma has a keen interest in the prevention and management of chronic diseases and she is particularly interested in:
– Diabetes (Type 2, Prediabetes and Gestational diabetes)
– Weight management and
– Mental health
When collaborating with clients, Emma uses an approach that is client-centred, realistic and practical to assist with achieving optimum health and wellbeing. In her free time Emma enjoys camping, surfing, playing AFL and touch and running around with her kelpie.
The Health Department has released this latest video on how the COVID vaccine will be rolled out:
Click on the image to watch the video…
Researchers and companies across the world are developing potential vaccines for COVID-19. Once vaccines are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Australian Government has a strategy to deliver them to Australians.
The Department of Health website has all the latest information on vaccine. Click HERE to go to their website.
Routine cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer. Cancer Council’s leading experts have come together to explain what this means for you.
Click HERE to read more about Cervical Cancer testing.
We welcome Dr Alison Hanks back from maternity leave, on the 19th October. Alison will be taking new patients. She has a special interest in lactation and is interested in chronic disease management, child health and preventative care.
Adults aged 70 to 79 years are eligible for a free Zostavax (Shingles) Vaccine – a safe and effective way to protect yourself from serious disease caused by shingles.
Shingles is the disease caused when the chickenpox virus reactivates. It causes a painful blistering rash which can cause a tingling, burning sensation in the area. The rash can last about 10 to 15 days. It often makes a stripe or belt-like pattern on one side of the face or body. The rash forms small blisters, which fill with liquid and burst before the skin crusts over and heals.
It can also cause headache, tiredness and discomfort when looking at bright lights.
Shingles is a serious disease because it can cause severe nerve pain that can last for months. It can also lead to serious eye problems, pneumonia, hearing problems, swelling of the brain and death.
Shingles usually affects older people. The older you are if you get shingles, the higher your risk of getting serious disease.
If shingles is diagnosed early enough (within 3 days of the rash appearing), it can be treated with antiviral medicines.
The shingles vaccine is given as a needle. Common side effects of shingles vaccine may include: pain, redness, swelling or itching where the needle went in; headache; tiredness.
Please telephone the practice on 07 5477 0644 for more information or to book an appointment with your GP to discuss the shingles vaccine further.
The impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, physical distancing and isolation can make us feel anxious, stressed and worried. Read about what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing and look out for those around you as we tackle these challenges together.
The Australian Government will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
People will have to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan and a review with their GP to access the additional sessions. This will allow them to continue to receive mental health care from their psychologist, psychiatrist, GP or other eligible allied health worker.
Click HERE for more information from the Australian Government Department of Health