How can full-time grey nomads can best access the Covid-19 vaccine?

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Grey nomads and the Covid-19 vaccine
Grey nomads will soon be offered the Covid vaccine. PIC: NPS Medicinewise

Dr. John Hall, the President of the Rural Doctors Association, explains the steps grey nomads need to take to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

With the arrival in Australia of the first doses of Covid vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, many are wondering when they will be able to get the jab! Frontline health, care and border workers – as well as those living in residential aged care – are the first in line during Phase 1A of the vaccination rollout (which is currently underway).

Vaccinations should be more widely available to the broader community from mid-March, once Phase 1B of the rollout commences… and most of the population should be fully vaccinated by October.

So, as a grey nomad, how can you keep up-to-date?

The best way is via the Federal Department of Health’s Covid-19 vaccine update webpage, which also includes a Covid vaccine eligibility checker so you can see where you are in the queue!

There is also a Government hotline you can call for advice – 1800 020 080. Now is the time to plan where you will be as your place in the queue gets closer. Search on the website above for nearby Covid vaccination clinics, and make a booking to get your jab once you become eligible. Spare doses will probably be limited in most locations, and as ‘walk in’ jabs will not be possible – and not all clinics or practices will be providing them – you’ll need to make an appointment with a participating clinic.

If you have other health conditions and want to find out whether you should be getting the vaccine, we recommend making an appointment with your regular doctor to discuss this.

Once you get your first jab, what do you do?

While you can receive the first and second Covid jabs at different clinics, it is preferable that you receive both jabs at the same place. If this is not possible, details of your jabs will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register, so health workers can ensure you get the same ‘brand’ of vaccination both times.

The period you must wait between your first and second jab will be different depending on which vaccine you receive, and adhering to this will be crucial if your jabs are to be effective.

In the meantime…

Although it is likely to reduce the spread of coronavirus, there is currently not enough research to confirm the vaccine prevents its transmission (it will just prevent you from getting sick), so at the moment there is still a need to be cautious, maintain good hygiene, and get tested and self-isolate if you are experiencing even mild symptoms.

Once most of us are vaccinated, we will be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. But until then, it’s a matter of planning ahead – and looking forward to – the Covid jab!

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