‘The choice was clear’: Daniel Piotrowski, 30, of Daily Mail, Australia, explains why he and many others under 40 visited their GP this week to get the AstraZeneca vaccine
I’m a 30-year-old Sydney man and on Tuesday night I put my life in grave danger: I crossed a busy highway…not at the zebra crossing.
It was a greater risk than I took moments later, when my doctor gave me the AstraZeneca vaccine, and with it a 0.004% chance of a fatal blood clot.
For me, the choice was clear once Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave the nod for under 40s to get the jab.
My chances of getting Pfizer soon were grim. My city, Sydney, is gripped by the worst outbreak in a year.
And Australia will not get out of this cycle of lockdowns, families separated at the border and young people’s dreams denied until most of us get a chance.
So I made an informed decision to get the first safe and effective vaccine available to me, with a 1.6 in 100,000 chance of a potentially reversible blood clot.
What did my doctor say? An enthusiastic ‘yes! Let’s do it.’
Whatever the hysterical Queensland Premier and Chief Physician may say, taking a vaccine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration is hardly something for a thrill-seeker.
We all take health risks when we drink, smoke, use drugs, exercise too little or too much.
Likewise when we cross the road, swim in the ocean, go bungee jumping or walk outside during a thunderstorm.
In fact, the chances of getting a non-lethal gag from AZ are about the same as being struck by lightning.
As my doctor said, most drugs and vaccines carry tiny risks.
But the chances of complications are so small that you will probably never hear about it.
According to the Ministry of Health, the birth control pill causes clots in 5 to 12 women per 10,000. It has been freely prescribed for 60 years, with warnings usually ignored.
Even some life-saving flu vaccines have a possible, extremely rare, link to an autoimmune disease, Guillain Barre syndrome, which can cause paralysis, enraging my GP.
Meanwhile, the actual official medical advice being given about AstraZeneca has been grossly distorted by scare-mongering politicians.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunizations (ATAGI) does not say that young people under 40 should not receive AstraZeneca.
It simply says, in the a**e-covering language of health bureaucrats, that Pfizer is the “preferred option” for people under the age of 60.
‘COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can be used in adults under the age of 60 for whom Comirnaty (Pfizer) is not available, the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks to that person and the person has made an informed decision based on understanding of the risks and benefits’, is the advice.
So why should a fully informed adult be stopped from taking this vaccine, especially when Australia has the slowest vaccine rollout in the developed world?
The jab is a risk – but a small one. Four Australians have died from clots from more than five million administered doses.
It is a risk that protects me, my family, friends, colleagues and strangers I meet on the street from a deadly pandemic.