News

If You’re In Sydney And Under 40, Here’s Exactly How You Can Get The AstraZeneca Jab

It's now strongly recommended that young people in Sydney get AstraZeneca.

astrazeneca sydney photo

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

After a brutal weekend in Sydney that saw anti-lockdown protests, consecutive days of 100+ daily cases, the hospitalisation of people in their 20s and the death of a woman in her 30s who had no underlying health conditions, epidemiologists and politicians alike are saying that there’s one thing that can really help get us out of this thing: getting vaccinated.

And the easiest way is with the AstraZeneca vaccine. So how exactly can you get it?

But I’m Under 40, Aren’t I Supposed To Get The Pfizer?

Given the consistent cases in Sydney, ATAGI — the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation — announced over the weekend that “all individuals aged 18 years and above in Greater Sydney…should strongly consider getting vaccinated with any available vaccine including COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.”

This is a matter of weighing up the risks — and the reality is, if you’re in Sydney in this outbreak, the risk of catching COVID-19 is higher than the very rare risks of getting the vaccine that protects you from the potentially deadly virus. When it comes to blood clots, clots caused by the combined contraceptive pill (though a different kind of blood clot) are estimated to affect one in every 1000 women a year.

“The blood clots we’ve seen following the AstraZeneca vaccine are completely different to other types of blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism, or the clots that cause heart attacks and strokes,” haematologists in The Conversation recently explained. “People with a history of these sorts of conditions don’t appear to be at any increased risk from the AstraZeneca vaccine. In fact, people in this group could be at greater risk from COVID-19, so shouldn’t delay getting vaccinated.”

And the Australian Medical Association also recommends people under 60 get the AstraZeneca vaccine, with President Dr Omar Khorshid noting it is “used in many countries around the world and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for anyone 18 years and over.”

“The only option is AstraZeneca,” said Dr Omar Khorshid last Friday. “It will save lives and help see life return to some normality in Greater Sydney.”

Plus, all the cool kids are doing it.

I Don’t Know Though, Isn’t It Better To Wait?

Australia has access to copious amounts of AstraZeneca, as we can manufacture it here. Meanwhile our supply of Pfizer has to be imported from overseas, meaning we have to wait on deliveries each month.

“We have to accept that there is a scarcity of Pfizer,” Chief Medical Officer, Kerry Chant said at today’s press conference.

One journalist made the calculation that if we were all waiting for the Pfizer, we’d be in this for another five months. None of us can handle that. Let’s get jabbed.

Is AZ Less Effective?

We are currently struggling with the Delta variant. It’s a different ballgame to Lockdown 1.0.

The SMH reports that data from Public Health England (not peer-reviewed) shows that when it comes to the effectiveness of ending up in hospital due to the Delta variant, Pfizer is at 96 per cent, and AstraZeneca is just a fraction behind at 92 per cent. And we have AstraZeneca. Heaps of it. What we don’t yet have, is heaps of Pfizer, so waiting for the Pfizer could give you more time to contract the virus.

Okay, Okay – So How?

Here are some options:

  • Call your doctor, tell them you’d like to make a booking for the AstraZeneca vaccine, feel smug that you are now 50 percent vaccinated against a virus that has stopped the world. Ask about when your second appointment will be so you can put it in your diary.
  • Go to Covid-Vaccine.Healthdirect and do the eligibility test. It will ask you if you are up for the AZ. Knowing ATAGI and the Australian Medical Association have recommended it, click Yes. It will deem you eligible. Congrats! Proud of you, babe. It will then give you a handy list and map of registered pharmacies where you can book your jab.
  • Pharmacies are now coming on board to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine. At the moment there are 22 pharmacies around NSW that have supply, and there are more coming on over the coming weeks. (I called a couple around the Inner West and they’re all signed up and waiting for the special delivery.) Give your local pharmacy a call and ask if they have it. But due to this being a more recent announcement, you might have better success with just calling a GP.
  • In today’s press conference, there was subtle talk of walk-in vaccination clinics being set up, with more details coming tomorrow. That said, the locations have not yet been made public. Might be best — and easiest — to just call your GP.